The Apple iPhone 3GS has been out of stock in South Africa for almost a month. Vodacom, the local supplier, has not officially responded to my query on the subject and can not confirm when the next shipment will land although representatives of the Vodacom Service Provider company have told me that they expect stock in October 2009. The shortage is not just in South Africa, however, but is being experienced internationally.
The iPhone 3G experienced a similar supply problem which, we are told, is a simple side-effect of overwhelming demand. The 3G ran out of stock shortly after launch and it took Apple weeks to restore a steady supply internationally. This time it’s worse.
The current shortage is being reported in Australia, the USA and most other markets where the 3GS has been launched. In the US Apple has released a widget that becomes available during shortages and can be used to track availability at stores. This was recently disabled, however, which suggests that supply challenges are being alleviated.
I suspect that some demand creation could also be responsible for the wait, whereby Apple trickles stock into the market building up some hype and the impression of exclusivity along the way.
Whether sheer over-demand or intended trickle supply it is reasonable to expect the issue to be sorted out soon. That said, I suspect that when Vodacom does receive stock it will be snapped up quickly, so you might want to get your details down with a supplier if you plan on buying a 3GS.