updated 07:30 pm EDT, Sat April 14, 2012
Shortage prompts Apple to give iPhone upgrades
Apple may have been pressed into giving unintentional upgrades to white iPhone 4 owners who need replacements. Claims made by Apple retail staff talking to 9to5 assert that the company is facing a shortage of replacements for 16GB white models and has cleared offering 16GB iPhone 4S units if the store is out of stock. The iPhone 4S would be a refurbished unit, and it might only affect some stores in North America.
The reason for the shortage wasn't specified. Apple also hasn't commented on the initial reports.
At least publicly, shortages of Apple replacement units are rare. The mention suggests either an unexpected, disproportionate amount of replacements for particular models or a strain on overall supply. Questions have persisted as to how well iPhones would sell in the aftermath of the holidays, and there's no guarantee that demand is similar or higher than in the fall.