A look around the market should have revealed to Apple that there would be rabid demand for larger screen iPhone models, yet the Cupertino outfit is still struggling to ship the necessary number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets in a timely fashion. Granted, being short on supply of a new product isn't unusual, especially for an Apple device, but to continue to have trouble meeting demand two months later isn't par for the course.
According to a CNBC report, a research note by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said that just 58 percent of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models were in stock at retail stores across the nation in late November. That translates into 42 percent still unavailable for sale some two months after the new iPhone devices launched.
What Apple CEO Tim Cook dubbed “the biggest iPhone launch ever” can explain part of the inventory shortfall. However, that's typically been the case with each new iPhone launch, and never before has it been so hard to fulfill demand two months post launch. And that's what has analysts befuddled.
"No one's really familiar with the inner workings of Apple, but my thinking is, this company is too big and too experienced to get it this wrong," Marlene Morris Towns, a marketing strategy professor at Georgetown University, told CNBC. "They can still forecast, they can still anticipate the demand. I don't see a plausible explanation as to how they could have miscalculated this much."
It's possible that Apple is intentionally constricting supply to boost demand higher than what it already is. There's also the need to make sure there are enough customers left to buy the next iPhone release, such as the seemingly inevitable iPhone 6S, though not all analysts buy into these theories.
"I'm 99 percent sure this is not a coordinated marketing strategy. You don't want to create a situation where people are upset with the brand," said Ari Zoldan, founder and CEO of Quantum Networks LLC.
Interestingly enough, there doesn't appear to be much shortage of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices on Apple's website. Depending on the SKU, wait times are estimated at 3-5 or 7-10 business days.