The iPhone 4S is flying off the shelves in the US and abroad. An inventory check of 30 Apple retail stores by Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore suggests stores are selling their entire stock of handsets as soon as they hit the loading dock. Between 85% to 90% of stores surveyed run out of inventory each day. Apple stores are receiving daily shipments and customers unable to buy a handset due to low inventory are being instructed to make an online appointment for next day pickup on a first come, first serve basis.
If you are looking to purchase an iPhone 4S, Apple stores may be your best option. Inventory at Sprint, Verizon and AT&T is "more sporadic" says Whitmore, with shipments arriving only occasionally. Some stores surveyed were out of stock and others were unsure when they would receive their next order. Online orders are also backlogged and subject to a one to week delay.
This demand is not limited to the US or initial launch countries. According to Ticonderoga Securities's Brian White, the iPhone 4S went on pre-order last Friday in Hong Kong and sold out within 10 minutes. Besides Hong Kong, pre-orders for the handset also began in 14 other countries last week, bringing the total number of countries with the iPhone 4S to 44.