Global demand for Apple's iPhone is growing. China Unicom customers scooped up its full iPhone 4 inventory following the smartphone's Sept. 25 China debut.
Apple is seeing demand for its iPhone 4 growing on an international level, a
trend most recently illustrated in China.
Unicom, the country's second-largest mobile operator and the exclusive provider
of the Apple iPhone 4, announced that it doesn't have enough supply to meet
consumer demand, according to a Sept. 26 report from the Wall Street Journal.
Apple's newest smartphone made its China
debut Sept. 25, coinciding with the opening of new Apple retail stores in Shanghai
and Beijing. By the morning of
Sept. 25, Unicom told the Journal, it had received more than 200,000 preorders,
and by the end of the day 40,000 customers had purchased the smartphone,
bundled with a service plan.
The Journal added that an Apple spokesperson said that Apple was working to
make more of the handsets available soon, and that interested consumers should
check online or with their local stores regarding availability. However, Unicom
didn't share exactly how many iPhone 4 handsets Apple originally supplied it
, reception of the iPhone 4-in every regard-has topped
that of the iPhone 3GS, which Apple sold approximately only 5,000 units of in
the days following its October 2009 release and about 100,000 units of in its
first six weeks. The discrepancy is partly attributed to the gray market in China,
in which vendors charge raised prices for devices purchased from abroad. Gray
market pricing for the iPhone 3GS was reported to be in the neighborhood of
$1,170. By contrast, Apple is selling the 16GB model of the iPhone 4 for $743
and the 32GB model for $892.
(Unicom is selling the iPhone 4, Apple said in Sept. 19 press announcement,
to "qualified buyers with a new two year contract" for an undisclosed
In the press announcement, Apple also emphasized that the iPhone 4 is its
best handset yet, describing it as having the "highest resolution ever
built into a phone" and a "beautiful new design of glass and
stainless steel that is the thinnest smartphone in the world." In the United
States, that same glass-and-stainless-steel
design led to a public relations debacle for Apple that, following a comment by
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, quickly became known
Gates and his team later sought to resolve the design issue-which caused
calls to be dropped when the phone was held a certain way-by offering refunds
to those who wanted one, or else free
rubber cases, or "bumpers,"
which engineers at U.S. publication Consumer
Reports found to resolve the matter.
looking to avoid the problem all together, Unicom will be offering free cases
to iPhone 4 customers, according to Cnet.com.
4 owners looking for a free case, however, will need to apply for one before
Sept. 30. Apple
recently announced on its site that the Antennagate issue "is even smaller
than we originally thought,"
and so it will be discontinuing the free
case program and returning to its normal returns policy.