Apple is prioritizing stock at its own stores as the iPhone 4S continues its sales surge and the company wrestles with the logistics of meeting demand.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is reportedly giving shipment priority to its own retail stores, with 85 to 90 percent of stores running out of stock every day. Apple’s carrier partners in the U.S. have seen less frequent shipments, with no steady schedule for when more devices will arrive.
Apple’s iPhone 4S launched on October 4 and sold more than four million units in its first three days. Demand for the 4S has remained high since its release, and the device recently launched in an additional 22 countries with 15 more to follow.
Demand for the 4S continues to grow, and Apple plans to maintain its reservation process for buyers. Customers looking purchase the device in-store must reserve it the night before the day they plan on picking it up. Apple is likely giving stock priority to its retail stores because they are the primary landing spot of prospective buyers.
Having a steady supply of iPhones at Apple’s stores also provides a good image for company and its retail chain. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint may be unhappy with shortages, but customers are still able to sign up for two-year contracts for any of their networks through Apple.
Analysts originally projected Apple would sell 28 million iPhones during the holidays, but that number now seems a bit low. The company will likely sell in excess of 30 million handsets before the year is over, providing a solid victory for Apple and the 4S after critics said the device was too similar to its predecessor to be a smash hit.
The success of the 4S also comes as Samsung and HTC surpass Apple in the number of smartphones shipped. Sales of the device show that even if Apple is not making devices at the rate of its competition, it still has the most popular smartphone around.