The iPhone 7 Plus, according to early reviews, is the best iPhone ever. The only problem is it’s also pretty darn difficult to get your hands on one, even if you pre-ordered it. Apple had suggested there was going to be limited stock at launch, but it left some of its retail partners and, ultimately, customers out in the cold.
Take, for example, my experience with Best Buy this morning. I pre-ordered the phone on launch day for arrival at my local Best Buy store on September 16 (today.) I decided on that option since Apple’s site had suggested at the time that it would be at least 2-3 more weeks to order direct. Here we are on launch day, however, and a quick call to Best Buy revealed that the store hadn’t even received the shipment from Apple. Best Buy isn’t the only partner in this situation.
In fact, Verizon confirmed this morning that it, too, had not received shipments from Apple to stock its retail stores with iPhone 7 Plus units. Customers were instead directed to buy the device online through Verizon’s site for shipment direct to their homes.
The situation is worse for folks who decided to start waiting in line early, only for last-minute notice from Apple that there wouldn’t be any iPhone 7 Plus units in stock when doors opened for launch this morning. Brutal.
That’s not to say there aren’t iPhone 7 Plus units out there. Folks who got early pre-orders should see some arrive today, as will customers who chose to pick up the device in Apple Store locations ahead of time. But that seems to be a very, very small percentage of customers who tried to get the device on the day of its debut.
Running out of stock is one thing – anyone can understand a situation where demand outstrips supply – but Apple left its partners (Verizon and Best Buy, at least) out on a ledge to deal with angry customers. It’s not Best Buy’s fault, but this is the last time I’ll place a pre-order through anyone other than Apple, and I’m probably not the only one in this situation. That’s bad news for Apple’s partners.