Apple resumes iPhone reservation system as supplies shrink
Uses a variant of 2011's reservation-only retail sales system for the iPhone 5 in the U.S., U.K, and other countries
Computerworld - Apple reopened a reservation program today for iPhone 5 retail sales, telling customers it's their best chance of scoring a new smartphone anytime soon.
The company's website informed customers in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Japan and Hong Kong that an iPhone 5 could be reserved online from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time.
Users select a carrier and iPhone 5 model, but then must wait for an email telling them that one is actually available before heading to a nearby Apple retail store the next day for pick-up.
Customers in other countries where the iPhone 5 debuted last week -- Australia, France, Germany and Singapore -- do not yet have access to a reservation system, however. Singapore lacks an Apple retail store, but the others have several.
Last year, Apple used a similar reservation scheme, but showed which models of the iPhone 4S were in stock at specific Apple stores. This time, users won't know if a phone is available until they receive the notification email from Apple.
"Limited quantities may also be available for in-store pick-up on a first-come, first-served basis," Apple said on its site.
Over the years, Apple has become less transparent about whether its retail stores have iPhones in stock. At one time, Apple posted a page that listed all stores' inventory, but stopped that practice. And last year, the reservation system showed customers inventory at specific stores. Even that is no longer available.
Analysts have blamed the iPhone 5's display module as the primary suspect for shortages, noting that the phone uses "in-cell" technology for the first time. In-cell does away with a separate touch-sensitive layer under the glass and instead integrates sensors into the liquid-crystal display (LCD) itself.
Yesterday, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets called the display the "gatekeeper" of supply.
Apple has acknowledged shortages. On Monday, CEO Tim Cook boasted of record first-weekend sales for the iPhone 5, but admitted that the company had already blown through its initial stock.
The iPhone 5 went on sale Sept. 21 at Apple's retail stores and other outlets in nine countries, two more than last year. Apple plans to roll out the phone in another 28 countries -- six more than in 2011 -- on Friday, Sept. 28, and to a total of 100 by the end of the year.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Apple will 'set the world on fire' with iPhone 6 sales
- The other Apple economy: $2B in devices on eBay
- Apple sends users scrambling for OS X Yosemite
- Apple grows Mac sales by 18% on the back of the MacBook Air
- What to listen for during Apple's earnings call today
- Timeline: How Apple's iOS gained enterprise cred
- Apple and IBM: A winning combo for IT
- IBM and Apple ties go way back
- Apple quickly counters China claim of iPhone spying
- China calls the iPhone and iOS 7 threats to national security
Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.
- Tips for Driving User Adoption in New Technology Deployment Read this checklist on tips for driving user adoption to see where you stand.
- Improving IT Efficiencies: Four Advantages of Multi-Tenant Data Centers Increasing demands on IT are forcing organizations to rethink their data center options. For many organizations, that means turning to the flexibility afforded...
- Accelerating Cloud Deployment and Operations with Managed Services Companies that do not have sufficient in-house expertise to either deploy or maintain an IaaS cloud should turn to Managed Service Providers .
- Rethinking IT Operations in the Cloud This paper breaks down the challenges that often prevent the cloud from delivering the fast, flexible and affordable infrastructure companies seek - and...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!