Aussie Gold iPhone 5s Orders Show 7-10 Day Wait, U.S. Carrier Inventory Low
Initial Supplies of gold and silver iPhone 5s models appear to be quite constrained as the September 20th launch day begins on the other side of the planet. Australian orders for gold iPhone 5s immediately showed delivery times of 7-10 days, according to iDownloadBlog, and 9to5Mac reported that carriers in the U.S. have little or no inventory on hand for Friday morning.
Our own Dave Hamilton noted that his local AT&T reps said much the same thing:
My AT&T store said they got “not many” 5s models, and no gold at all. They can order Gold starting tomorrow morning, 2-day arrival at start.— Dave Hamilton (@DaveHamilton) September 19, 2013
Reports of tight supplies of the iPhone 5s at launch time have been circulating for weeks, even before Apple announced the device. That's been the case with every iPhone launch, but interest in Apple's gold iPhone 5s seems like it will vastly outstrip supply...
...unless, perhaps, you go to an Apple Store. Apple has a history of favoring its fleet of retail stores at the expense of its carrier partners and third party retailers, and so far, all of the reports of inventory constraints have focused on those carriers and retailers.
Apple didn't allow the iPhone 5s to be preordered—though it did allow preorders on the iPhone 5c—and customers who want the 5s version can order online at 12:01 AM PDT, or visit their local Apple Store. Visiting a local Apple Store, however, entails waiting in line—early.
That is, except for anyone planning to go to my Apple Store—if that's you, you should go maybe late in the afternoon. Or try Saturday. I'm sure it will be fine.
In the meanwhile, it remains to be seen how these reports of shortages will affect Apple's retail stores. Note that the Australian orders mentioned above were from Apple, but it also remains to be seen if the U.S. stores will be as constrained as inventories outside the U.S.
The U.S. is Apple's largest market (until China overtakes it), and it stands to reason that Apple would favor that market.
Then there's the color issue. It would seem that the few units U.S. carriers received are space gray (the new black). Is this because Apple has few of the gold or silver units or because Apple sent all of its gold and silver units to its own Apple Stores.
My guess is that Apple will have enough units to take care of most demand at most of its retail stores. My guess is also that the first few orders placed at 12:01 AM will get their deliveries Soon™, but that we'll soon hit 7-10 day delivery times in the U.S., too.