Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prepare for iPhone Shortage

These days, iPhones aren't in shortage in the sense that there are long lines.  But even now, you can walk into an Apple store and not find the model or color you want.

Well, prepare for more shortage if International Business Times' report are correct.  And I have reasons to believe that they are indeed on the money with this one.  According to the report, 5 million iPhones will be bought by China Unicom.  

There are numbers like value and cost attached to it but that's not that big of a deal.  What's a big deal to me is that the number seems awfully low.  It has a subscriber base of 140 million, almost twice the size of ATT.

I am sure the small number is a conservative run to see how it goes.  These iPhones will have no Wi-Fi and is WCDMA, whereas existing iPhones on the market are GSM units.  

Already, the unofficial number of iPhones smuggled into China for use stands around two million, I am sure these official units will be really well received by the local mobile warriors.

So, be prepared for shortages as Apple try to accommodate a potentially lucrative market.  Plus, we also know that Apple prepaid for the memory that goes into these iPhones.  I am guessing those prices will go up as well.

I have to say that there are numbers that don't quite add up in the IBT's article.  The prices seem very low but I suppose Apple is looking to get its foot into the door and may be looking to use the iPhone as precursor to converting Chinese consumers to the Mac and other Apple products.

Given how well the unofficial iPhone has already been received, I see China Unicom selling 8-12 million iPhones a year, making the initial 5 million run looking very low.  I assuming this is 5 million iPhones number is merely a low ball figure for Apple and China Unicom easily beat when it comes time to report earnings.  

So don't be surprised to see iPhone sales in China going as high as 15-20 million a year.  And if that number is realized, be prepared for shortages everywhere else.  

The fact that Apple may be stocking up on iPhones for the Chinese market can explain the slow rollout of the 3GS everywhere else in the world.

Mentioned Links:  IBT, Appleinsider

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