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Where have all the iPhones gone?


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#1 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted April 01 2008 - 03:14 AM

Apparently iPhones are gone from many (most?) Apple Stores nationwide, and apple.com is showing them as 5 to 7 days shipping. While the sell out was confined to NYC, I thought it was just foreign visitors taking advantage of the nearly worthless dollar, but now I'm mystified. Possibilities:

3G iPhone coming much sooner than anyone expects?

Sudden demand spurt that Apple totally failed to anticipate? (All those iPhone SDK developers buying test phones, no doubt Posted Image )

Component shortage a whole year into iPhone manufacturing?

Factories too busy making 3G iPhones to make enough 2.5Gs?

What do you think guys?
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#2 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 01 2008 - 05:59 AM

Apple is on the same release plan that's been known for months. June - If they decide to go before the conference, it would be strange. Expect a big deal event for 2.0 hardware.

It's only 60 something days away, so why not thin the channel.

Verizon has been calling me with all kinds of free crap if I'll re up my expired plan. When I mention the iPhone, I usually get a quick end to the sell. Nice

#3 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted April 01 2008 - 06:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErichH
Apple is on the same release plan that's been known for months. June - If they decide to go before the conference, it would be strange. Expect a big deal event for 2.0 hardware.

It's only 60 something days away, so why not thin the channel.
We are talking closer to 90 days if they release it post WWDC or on the 1 year anniversary. Anyway, even if it was just 60 days, it makes NO sense for Apple to kill their supply this far in advance. They would lose huge amounts of sales -- not to mention cheese off their existing customer base -- imagine losing your iPhone and then having to wait 2-3 months (or even a week!) to buy a new one?!?

There has to be a different explanation than deliberate supply constraint due to a June release.
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#4 of 59 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 01 2008 - 09:18 AM

Even if the new iPhone is announced in June (which is expected)
I don't think we'll see the first 3G phone in stores till the fall.

Of course, wouldn't it be neat if the new phones were immediately
put on sale?

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#5 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted April 01 2008 - 02:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
Even if the new iPhone is announced in June (which is expected)
I don't think we'll see the first 3G phone in stores till the fall.

Of course, wouldn't it be neat if the new phones were immediately
put on sale?
They will be put on sale within days of the announcement, if not that very day. The iPhone is too crucial a product at this point for Apple to leave any kind of gap. The FCC will keep testing secret for a period of time, if asked to, so there is no reason to make the 3G iPhone public until right before the release. I'm sure something will end up leaking from the retail chain, so they might do the announcement slightly in advance, but just slightly.

And I think the 3G will go on sale in June, not in the fall.
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#6 of 59 Yee-Ming

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Posted April 02 2008 - 10:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov
And I think the 3G will go on sale in June, not in the fall.

If that's true, then I'm glad my friend wasn't able to buy an iPhone for me on a recent trip to the US (line in the Apple Store was too long).

#7 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted April 03 2008 - 12:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yee-Ming
If that's true, then I'm glad my friend wasn't able to buy an iPhone for me on a recent trip to the US (line in the Apple Store was too long).

I think we have a winner -- Yee-Ming has just pointed us to the one true reason for the shortage -- overwhelming purchases by visitors for export. My original thought was correct. Here is a comment from a poster naming himself Tantrum taken from the the NY Times Bits blog comment section:
Quote:
8. April 2nd,
2008
4:01 pm
Wall Street analysts like Gene Munster and Toni Sacconaghi continuously discount the role of international demand in iPhone sales. They do this primarily because they have a very America-centric view of the world in which this 5% tail wags the dog. Not in cell phones.

This is the issue. The customer-satisfaction numbers you see for iPhone in the US are no different internationally, in some cases they are much higher because the price ($399 and $499 is seen as perfectly reasonable, particularly in emerging markets used to paying higher premiums on US prices for BlackBerry and high-end Nokia phones).

Demand for iPhones outside the United States, particularly in emerging markets, is out of control and has reached the point where it has started to impact Apple’s normalized supply chain projections. It’s okay to have a delta of, say, 100,000 units or so per year between actual and forecast. International demand is driving that delta upwards of 1 million. That’s a whole different ball game for component sourcing, quality control and production ramp-up and some things are starting to come unstuck, even for a finely managed company like Apple.

What’s driving this?

1. Free, out-of the box -ready, GUI-based network unlock solutions like Ziphone and iLiberty. Confidence in these unlock systems has grown significantly over time as technical expertise required to use them has fallen.

2. A large, very organized procurement mechanism for iPhones, particularly into Russia, Eastern Europe, India and China. There are people who go from store to store buying iPhones and aggregating them for export to “resellers” overseas.

3. Proliferation of Wi-Fi penetration and the recognition that in GSM countries, iPhone works simply and well enough. Wi-Fi hotspot usage is growing significantly around the world and the iPhone’s superior web browser is taking full advantage to maximize customer experience. It’s the right product at the right time for the macro-trend.

4. The iPhone is relatively cheap to emerging market customers used to paying $500 for a BlackBerry and a cheap US Dollar makes it an even better deal. For example in Russia, at $499, a16GB iPhone translates to around 12,000 Rubles. An 8GB Nokia N95 costs $815 or 20,000 Rubles. The value-for-money perception with iPhone is absolutely huge.

5. Zero or minimal compatibility issues on GSM Networks. I have used my iPhone with SIM cards from 32 different networks in Europe and developing countries. It works seamlessly. The iPhone is a quad-band GSM phone, meaning that it supports all four major GSM frequency bands, 850 and 1900 MHz bands which are used in the Americas, and 900 / 1800 MHz bands used in most other parts of the world, making it compatible with all major GSM networks worldwide. 2 billion people around the world use GSM phones.

To give you an idea of international demand; There are Nigerians shipping more than 500 phones a week from New York to Lagos and Nigeria is a third world country. The EDGE internet works perfectly, albeit just as slow, there and data is very, very cheap at $5 per 100 MB of usage.

“Data-driven” analysts like Munster and Sacconaghi get misled by the laziness of long-distance US-chauvinist analysis into making market projections based on perfunctory GDP per capita statistics and “population living on less than dollar per day” figures. They look at the wrong data because they think the world works in the same way everywhere. This weak analysis disregards latent middle and upper income demand in developing countries. Income distribution in many emerging markets is extremely lopsided.

If you define a potential user as someone who can afford (or is used to) paying twice as much for an iPhone and double what an AT&T subscriber pays per month, there are at least 7 million potential iPhone users in Nigeria, 9 Million in South Africa, 80 Million in India, 25 Million in Russia, 25 Million in Brazil, 8 Million in Indonesia and 100 Million in China. Not all of them will be users but just 5% of this number is way more than 10 million. Considering mobile phones are some of the most universally adopted products on the planet, a good GSM phone reaches Iran and Iraq much faster than people on Wall Street can ever imagine. I predict iPhones will be available to elites in Cuba (which has both GSM and TDMA) within the next 30 days.

From research I’m conducting. we have conservative numbers of grey market as follows:
Russia 2000-4000 phones/week
China 4000 -6000 phones/ week

Demand from Western Europe is substantially slower but still significant, averaging anything from 2000 -3000 units/week from New York and other big cities with international airports. Now, not all the phones shipped from New York are bought in NYC but the export pattern is clear and very strong.

I have completely ignored the cash-flush Middle East where Dubai has always been a world-leading port in grey market clearing and forwarding for consumer electronics.

Conservatively speaking, something is sucking 15,000-20,000 iPhones/week out of the United States. If this phenomenon is coinciding with steadily growing adoption among US customers, suddenly the slack Apple had is drying up.

Many of the millions of visitors coming to the United States every month are going back with a packed iPhone in their luggage. It’s one of the things people are expected to buy when they come.

Foreign nationals are not very likely to buy iPhones at an AT&T store because the requirements are inconsistent (some stores requiring SSNs, existing phone numbers and/ or activation), queues are long (non-starter for people with a limited window to get back to the airport), lack of other Apple products (iPods etc) and accessories and simply, AT&T stores are not landmarks.

Finally, the reason why used iPhones will begin to show up on eBay and other consumer-to-consumer sites in Western Europe is because individuals who speculatively buy an iPhone to resell are up against “organized unofficial” suppliers and 3G is a big deal there. In emerging markets, you’re much more likely to buy a phone from an “expert hacker supplier” if you worry about fixes and other things. And yes, the parallel market is showing budding signs of getting sophisticated at providing some of the support Apple wont provide.

Oh well, maybe it’s just version 2.0 coming out soon.
I think not.

Bottom line: Apple has produced a product that is promising but short of the mark in 3G Western Europe, reasonably good for the US but a smash hit in emerging markets.

— Posted by Tantrum

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#8 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 03 2008 - 01:32 AM

Yep - One look on ebay is all it takes to see how crazy the market is for unlocked iPhones. I can't say it's an unjust attitude considering AT&T's 2 Billion and counting LoveFest with Apple.

Hopefully, Apple will keep the price in line with current models
and not charge some insane price for the 3g. AT&T could make it even more painful by upping their plan price as well. The current 60 bucks for 450min is, in the words of my sales friend, `A Little Happy' or `They're rather proud of themselves'

#9 of 59 Patrick_S

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Posted April 03 2008 - 11:37 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted Todorov
The FCC will keep testing secret for a period of time, if asked to, so there is no reason to make the 3G iPhone public until right before the release.
From my experience the notion that the FCC will keep testing secret is not accurate.

If the FCC does the testing it is public record from the get go. This is why a few large manufactures are actually certified testers (I doubt Apple is one) and others use private third party testers. That way they can submit the certification paperwork and basically pledge that the product will meet all of the standards necessary without letting competitors know all the specifics of the product. If I recall correctly the paperwork generally has to be submitted 100 days prior to launch.

#10 of 59 BrianShort

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Posted April 05 2008 - 06:50 PM

If a 3G iPhone really does come out by June, I'll most likely pick one up. I may have a substantial amount of unexpected income soon and this would make a nice present to myself. I do hope the 3G can be turned off though... I don't have 3G available in my area, but would definitely like the feature for times when I am in areas that support it. I also hope that Apple reconfigures the headphone jack so normal headphones will fit without adapters.

#11 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 09 2008 - 05:54 AM

Apple is famous for audio/headphone jacks that only work with their stuff. As General Monroe says to Korben Dallas, Old tricks are the best tricks.

Todays tidbit - 3G iPhone's Upcoming Chip Found? | Gizmodo Australia

and - What S-GOLD3 Could Really Mean For the Next iPhone | iLounge Backstage

Seems like every 2-3 days there's a new rumble.

#12 of 59 BrianShort

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Posted April 09 2008 - 08:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErichH
Apple is famous for audio/headphone jacks that only work with their stuff. As General Monroe says to Korben Dallas, Old tricks are the best tricks.

Really? The iPhone is the only thing I know of that has this issue, though I've only started following Apple products closely for a few years. I sure hope the MacBook Pro I'm getting tomorrow works with a regular set of headphones! Posted Image

#13 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 11 2008 - 02:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShort
Really? The iPhone is the only thing I know of that has this issue, though I've only started following Apple products closely for a few years. I sure hope the MacBook Pro I'm getting tomorrow works with a regular set of headphones! Posted Image

You'll be OK with the pro. G5 & Pro towers are OK.
G3,4, and most pre intel iMacs were not.

#14 of 59 BrianShort

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Posted April 11 2008 - 03:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErichH
You'll be OK with the pro. G5 & Pro towers are OK.
G3,4, and most pre intel iMacs were not.
That's crazy, I didn't know that.

PS I got my MacBook Pro yesterday. I'll say I love it once I let go of some PC stuff I was really used to! Posted Image

#15 of 59 Ronald Epstein

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Posted April 12 2008 - 08:27 PM

One of the iPhone rumors that has been floating around
is that the new phone will have videoconferencing capability.

Could you imagine calling someone and having a video
conversation both ways on your iPhone?

If this is true it will be the single biggest "killer app" in the
phone industry --- surely one that will make people ditch their
Blackberrys.

Of course, it is only rumor.

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#16 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 13 2008 - 01:52 AM

iChat AV on the iPhone. What a concept.
The camera through the touch screen would be a very sexy item. I agree with Ron.

I'm iChatting with someone and GPS is on at the same time, and I can take a second call and add that person to the conversation. One on video, the other audio only via cell, GPS talks to me at the same time. Am I dreaming here? Oh course, I'll need the phone mounted on my dash, so I don't take my eyes off the road. Oh yeah, an app that allows iChat toggle to forward camera Posted Image

#17 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted April 13 2008 - 02:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein
One of the iPhone rumors that has been floating around
is that the new phone will have videoconferencing capability.

Could you imagine calling someone and having a video
conversation both ways on your iPhone?

If this is true it will be the single biggest "killer app" in the
phone industry --- surely one that will make people ditch their
Blackberrys.
There are all kinds of possible "killer apps" now that the SDK is out. Imagine ALL the implications of using the iPhone as a portable barcode scanner with a direct Web connection. How much is the universal remote industry worth? With the right software on the iPhone, wave goodbye to that entire industry. Yes the Kindle is more suited to book reading. But how many people are going spend the money and cary yet another ugly device with them. Just a good PDF/text reader plus access to the file system combined with Google books will capture a bigger share of the market. Portable video game industry? The iPhone and its accelerometer plus super sharp touch screen, Bluetooth for additional controllers and a faster processor than the PSP? Another area where it can dominate.

Now think of all the other killer apps that people will come up with when spending more than the three minutes it took me to write this post. 100,000 of them are frantically working with the iPhone SDK as wee speak. Say 1,000 of them have real talent and imagination. Then picture all that software goodness on devices both larger and smaller than the current iPhone, all running Mac OS Touch.

I still don't think that most people realize what a game changer the iPhone is. Seen today on Macsurfer:
Quote:
"Will You Recognize the Next Apple? Do you know how to spot tomorrow's outperformers?" MSNBC 4/12
Clearly the author of this article doesn't know the answer -- the next Apple is Apple -- name another company with more upside potential.
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#18 of 59 ErichH

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Posted April 13 2008 - 02:20 AM

agree - the SDK was a very big deal
a small drive footprint will be key to most of these apps

#19 of 59 Ted Todorov

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Posted May 12 2008 - 07:40 AM

The iPhones have vanished again. At this point it seems overwhelmingly clear that the 3G iPhone will appear around Apple's WWDC (starts June 9th). AT&T have cancelled vacations starting June 15th. So that weekend would seem like the best moment for the 3G release.

Is it too early to choke off supply a month in advance?
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#20 of 59 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 12 2008 - 08:36 AM

This was posted on iPhone Freak over the past day...

"Alright guys, I'll keep this short, online Apple stores (US/UK) are now officially out of stock of any model of the iPhone (8gb/16gb.)
This just shows us how close they are coming to releasing the new 3G iPhone to the consumer market. If Apple does not restock their
shelves soon with the 3Gs they will lose a good deal of business, from this we can infer a late May or early June release of the 3G.

Additionally, actual Apple Stores throughout the United States and Europe have run bone dry in terms of iPhones, in a few more weeks
the 3G iPhones will be ours!
"

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