iPhones in short supply
Consumers in key markets such as the UK, Germany and the USA are finding it almost impossible to buy an iPhone. Last holiday weekend, Apple confirmed a number of reports to this effect, when it admitted that the first generation mobile phone was no longer available from its own online stores in the USA and UK. It seems that the phone is out of stock in Apple shops in the USA as well. There appears to be some stock available from Apple's various mobile phone partner companies, but even that is limited. In the UK O2 announced last week that it had no iPhones left, although the 16GB model has since reappeared in its online shop. Apple's German network partner T-Mobile does not even have the 16GB model.
These supply shortages may indicate that Apple is clearing its shelves of the first generation of iPhones, and are fuelling speculation that a new generation of iPhones is imminent. The next iPhone, due this summer, will finally have UMTS and GPS. Industry observers expect Apple boss Steve Jobs to present the UMTS model at the WWDC developer conference this June. Rumours have been circulating that the 3G iPhone will have a black case and be somewhat thicker than its predecessor.
The vendor continues to work towards its stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of the year, and has concluded sales agreements for the iPhone with mobile phone partners in Singapore, India, Australia and the Philippines. Apple is no longer pursuing an exclusive marketing strategy and intends to sell the iPhone in different markets and through other vendors such as Vodafone. By the end of the last quarter, Apple had sold a total of approximately 5.4 million iPhones.
In the six months since its launch in Germany, T-Mobile managed to sell 100,000 units. This is in line with the company's forecasts, even though sales remain well behind those in the USA. T-Mobile sees the iPhone as an effective means of stimulating mobile internet usage. In an interview with the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Telekom boss René Obermann said he was happy with sales of the iPhone and confirmed that iPhone users tend to use the internet more heavily.