Record-Breaking iPhone Sales Lead to Shortages, Long Waits

On Friday, Sept. 20, record numbers of people lined up all over the world to get their hands on the new iPhone 5s and 5c. According to Tech Crunch the line at Apple’s flagship NYC store was 83 percent longer at 8 a.m. on Friday morning than it was at the same time during the iPhone 5 launch. Similar scenes played out in all the major cities. Fortune posted a roundup of YouTube videos documenting the impressive crowds:


The result of all these long lines? According to a press release Apple put out this morning, sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c have reached 9 million, far outselling the company's previous record of 5 million sold during the first weekend after the release of the iPhone 5. Not coincidentally Apple shares were up six percent when the stock market opened this morning.

Althought the 5c is still available, the 5s sold out in stores very quickly and and waiting times for online orders are stretching far into October, especially for the gold iPhone.

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iPhone fan Evan Poe, tweeting as @the_cooler, got lucky when he decided to check online at Best Buy for an iPhone for his brother while standing in line for his own phone at the Apple Store in West Des Moines, Iowa. A serendipitous glitch on the Best Buy website allowed him to preorder a 5s to be picked up the same day rather than having to wait for weeks as others are having to do. 

"The banner on the page displayed only 5c, which I thought was odd, so I searched for 5s. Results came up." The site allowed Poe to place the order and schedule a pick up. "I got to the store and went to the mobile section. They asked why I came and told them I ordered online. They asked my name and immediately knew my last name. The manager or greeter said, 'Well you slipped through a glitch. Someone at corporate flipped the wrong switch and probably is getting fired for the mistake. However we are honoring your order.' ... 45 minutes later I had my brother's phone activated."

iPhone Life blogger Todd Bernhard was not as lucky. He tried to get a gold iPhone 5s at several locations in his area and was told that even his local Apple store had only stocked five iPhones in that color. Todd ended up ordering one online and is hopeful that he'll get his gold iPhone before the end of October.

What about you? Did you get a new iPhone this weekend? Maybe even an elusive gold iPhone? Did you stand in line or order online? Share your story in the comments!
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Sarah Kingsbury is the Senior Web Editor of iPhone Life magazine. Previously she wrote for and was the Associate Editor of the Iowa Source for many years.