iPhone reception huge; Apple sprints to keep up with fierce demand
iPhone reception across the world is massive. From Tokyo to San Francisco, stores are selling out of the iPhone.
iPhone 4 has arrived, but for some people the wait continues as Apple sprints to keep up with fierce demand for its latest gadget.Skip to next paragraph
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From Tokyo to San Francisco, some stores started selling out of Apple Inc.'s newest iPhone just hours after it went on sale Thursday. Some would-be buyers walked away disappointed; tensions grew at Apple stores that hadn't run out.
In Aventura, Florida, Loren and Veronica McHenry held out hope, even after miscommunications landed them at the back of the line. They were told Wednesday that no one was allowed on mall property overnight, but returned the next day to learn 120 people had camped out at a nearby parking lot.
As the crowd pushed closer to the store, Apple employees started yelling that the fire marshal was going to shut the store down unless people moved back. The McHenrys were shoved out of place and behind a large group of people who refused to budge from their spots. Loren McHenry, 42, said two men in front of them threatened to fight each other rather than move, and guards sent a handful of people home for cutting in line.
After 11 hours, the couple finally had iPhones, but Veronica McHenry vowed to pre-order to avoid such a scene in the future. At other stores, even people who reserved a phone waited in line for eight hours or more.
It seems even Apple was surprised by the number of people who wanted to snap up the fourth version of theiPhone. More than 600,000 had rushed to pre-order iPhones on the first day they were available, prompting Apple and its exclusive wireless partner in the U.S., AT&T Inc., to stop taking orders for pickup or shipment by Thursday's launch. On Apple's website, new orders weren't promised for delivery until July 14.
Those who didn't order in advance lined up outside Apple stores in the hopes of snagging one on a first-come, first-served basis.
Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison said demand was "off the charts," and that the company was working hard to get phones into customers' hands as quickly as possible.
Some stores sold out completely within hours. Brian Marshall, an analyst for Gleacher & Co., said certain Apple stores likely had enough iPhones to last into Friday before selling out. A new shipment could be in stores as early as Saturday, he said, but more likely won't arrive until early next week.
Apple is having a hard time getting enough of the new custom parts for the iPhone 4, such as its new higher-resolution screen, Marshall said. Apple has said the white iPhone it plans to produce has been more challenging than expected, and won't be available until late July. Only black models went on sale Thursday.