Apple 3G iPhone shortages to last at least until August

Apple stores and partners selling out of 3G iPhone handsets; auction prices increasing in the UAE

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By  Mark Sutton Published  July 20, 2008

Shortages of Apple's new 3G iPhone are likely to last until at least August, according to Wall Street analysts.

The next generation of Apple's popular iPhone went on sale in 21 countries last weekend, with Apple reporting sales of over one million handsets in the first three days, but the huge demand caught Apple unawares, according to Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray.

Over the launch weekend, many Apple retail partners sold out of the handsets, although Apple stores still some had stocks. One week later, and Apple's main partner AT&T reports that it is almost out of stock, and only one quarter of Apple stores still have stock.

Munster told ComputerWorld that Apple is now having to catch up to the unprecedented demand, and will take some time to address the supply problems.

"I bet we'll see the problems for another two to four weeks. Early demand has been more than they expected [because] they knocked it out of the park on the first weekend," Munster said.

Shortages do not seem to have affected the number of 3G iPhones being offered for sale in the Middle East through auction sites such as souq.com, which still has several offers of unlocked handsets that sellers say will be available within five days. Average asking price for the handset does appear to have increased however, from around AED 2,500 ($680) last weekend, to upwards of AED 3,500 ($950) today.

The 3G iPhone was unlocked and jailbroken on day one, after hacking teams were able to use Apple's own Software Developer Kit to get an advance idea of how to unlock the device.

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