updated 03:50 am EDT, Sat October 8, 2011
iPhone 4S already up to 1-2 week US delay
Less than a day after it first went up for preorder, the iPhone 4S has sold out of its launch day stock at the US online Apple Store. New orders for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon models now won't ship for at least one to two weeks. Apple had already been seeing international unlocked sale delays but hadn't touched the US directly until now.
Carriers were also showing more strain than before. Sprint has already sold out of its 16GB iPhone 4S stock, but Verizon has joined it as well. Customers who try to order a 16GB version from Verizon now are told they won't get their orders until October 21, a week later. Trying the same with AT&T gets quoted ship dates of 14 to 21 days, or about the same time as its long-serving carrier rival.
All three carriers still have 32GB and 64GB versions on hand at their individual stores.
At the current rate, Apple is likely to run completely dry of launch iPhones before the weekend is out. Apple has encountered this before, but signs are starting to emerge that it's beating expectations both for the companies' own goals and of those who thought it would fare poorly. AT&T just hours ago said it had taken over 200,000 preorders in 12 hours, smashing an earlier record. Sprint and Verizon are largely untested for launching truly new iPhones into the market and might not see the same success as AT&T, which is estimated to still have as much as 84 percent of iPhone ownership under its belt.