Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to be doing a lot of reactive damage control in the days following the wildly successful – yet “disappointing” – launch of the iPhone 5. With lines around the door in retailers in the U.S. and four other countries in the first weekend, there has been a shortage of available devices for customers to walk in and pick up. But with Apple not meeting customer demand so far, and the iPhone due to launch in 22 other countries this week, the company is now trying out a new idea to try to be more responsive to customers’ wants.
With supply not keeping up with demand – and the new display technology suppliers being blamed for the lack of devices at this point – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has had to ration off its existing supply of devices, which had left many people out of luck. At least, until now. In response to demand, Apple has now established a reservation system for iPhones, where customers can now place reservations online to pick up an iPhone 5 that is available at the nearest Apple Store.
Of course, there is a catch. Presumably to allow the retail stores to assess their existing inventory at the end of each sales day, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is allowing online reservations for those who are night owls, or very early risers – between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., interested customers can purchase iPhones online and then stop by the Apple Store and pick up the device the next day. But of course, supplies are limited at this point, until the supply chain can catch up. To be clear – online reservations can only e performed through Apple. Wireless carriers like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) sell phones on a first-come, first-served basis.
And another note by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – when you go into an Apple Store, customers are asked to bring their old phone (if exchanging it), their Social Security number, a photo ID and wireless carrier passowrd (if they have one) – the last piece to help deermine with of the three models of iPhone 5 will work on the customer’s network.
Investors in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock – like hedge-fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital – will certainly be watching to see that Apple is taking the steps necessary to ensure maximum sales potential considering the supply challenges. They likely won’t want to know about many Apple customers are found wanting by the supply chains shortages.