Apple announced June 23 that its white-bodied iPhone 4 is encountering production delays, delaying shipment by several weeks. The black iPhone 4, which the company tried to position as the choice of most customers, has apparently not suffered the same problems.
“White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected,” read a June 23 statement posted on Apple’s Website, “and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.” The smartphone is scheduled to launch June 24.
The iPhone 4 retails with a two-year contract for $199 for a 16GB version, and $299 for the 32GB version. Features include a front-facing camera for video conferencing and the new iOS4 operating system, previously dubbed “iPhone OS 4,” which includes features such as multitasking.
Rampant demand for the next-generation iPhone 4, apparently unanticipated by both Apple and U.S. carrier AT&T, led to both companies experiencing an ordering-system meltdown during the smartphone’s initial period of presale availability. Reports circulated online of AT&T employees forced to jot customers’ details on paper after store computers crashed, and visitors to Apple’s Website encountered error messages.
The 600,000 customers who ordered iPhones on June 15, the first day of presales, “was the largest number … Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions,” read a June 16 statement on Apple’s Website. “Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties.”
In a June 22 research note, Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe suggested that, based on “channel checks by our communications equipment and semiconductor research partners,” the iPhone will launch on Verizon in early 2011. He also predicted that between 500,000 and 1 million AT&T customers, dissatisfied with their carrier service, could jump with their iPhones onto Verizon’s network.
The “iPhone would be a plus for Verizon, but not a seismic industry change, given the relative stickiness of smartphone customers,” Ratcliffe wrote in his note, circulated among the firm’s clients. “[The] primary source of Verizon iPhone [subscribers] would be pent-up demand by existing Verizon [subscribers].” Because of that, the number of postpaid Verizon subscribers would only increase by 900,000 in 2011, he predicted, even as Verizon activated more than 9 million new iPhones by the end of that year.