updated 10:55 am EDT, Thu October 1, 2009
Part of continuing global trend
O2's UK division has temporarily run out of the iPhone 3GS, according to the Telegraph. Both the 16 and 32GB models are no longer available from the company's online store, and most physical outlets are said to have been without phones for two weeks. Supplies of the 32GB model were only depleted on or after September 28th.
An O2 spokesman attributes the shortage to "extremely high levels of demand," such that resupplies can quickly disappear. Indeed the company has experienced more than one sellout since the 3GS launch, in spite of promises from Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer that the company would work to address continuing supply problems around the world. Staff from a London O2 store say that the carrier should have more iPhones at retail by the end of this week, or possibly the beginning of the next.
The shortages may raise questions about plans for even more iPhone carriers in the UK, in the form of Orange this year and Vodafone in 2010. A research director at Forrester Research suggests, however, that Apple will probably expand its supply chain to cope. "I don't think it would expand if it couldn't meet consumer demand, as that would lead to extreme consumer dissatisfaction -- which compared to its peers, Apple is usually good at avoiding," says Mark Mulligan.