People who rush today to order Apple Inc.'s iPhone 6 Plus won't get the new smartphone until next month as a surge in demand for early purchases of the device leads to a supply shortfall.
The larger edition of Apple's newest high-end handset will be shipped in three to four weeks for shoppers who pre-order online today, according to the company's website, which started letting buyers reserve their purchases today. The smaller iPhone 6 is still available for delivery on Sept. 19, when the devices are set to officially go on sale in stores.
Apple unveiled this week the new smartphones with rounded edges, thinner frames and higher-resolution displays, and they became available for pre-order starting at 3 a.m. New York time. CEO Tim Cook is counting on the new devices to usher in demand for other products he introduced this week, from the iPhone 6-compatible Apple Watch to the credit card- substituting Apple Pay service.
Apple is selling out of its stock even after customers took to Twitter to complain of difficulties loading the website to place pre-orders early this morning. Apple's website last had problems loading at about 3:22 a.m. New York time, according to Isitdownrightnow.com, a site that tracks Internet issues.
Apple didn't immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail asking about its website crash and phone inventory, including how the presale activity would affect in-store stocks when the phone goes on sale next week. The company normally doesn't disclose figures for its production runs of new products.
The iPhone remains the most important piece of Apple's business. The handset accounted for about half of Apple's $171 billion in revenue last year, and with sales of the iPad slowing, the company needs to keep the iPhone a blockbuster to maintain growth.
The iPhone 6 costs $199 to $399 with a two-year contract, while the 6 Plus is priced at $299 to $499. The devices will come in silver, gold and space gray.
The handsets will initially be available in a limited set of markets -- including the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. - - for pre-order on Sept. 12 and shipping on Sept. 19, the company said. China, one of Apple's biggest markets, won't get the new devices at first, though the company said it plans to have the devices in 150 countries by the end of the year.
~ Bloomberg News ~