12 Apple Products That Sold Out Too Quickly
Apple product launches are a famously major affair. Speculation about the iPhone 7 release date began months before there were any substantial leaks about the specifications of the new phone, and the batch of iPhones that Apple typically has available for preorders usually sells out before the launch date arrives. But recent iPhones aren’t the only Apple gadgets that sell out too quickly. Read on to refresh your memory on all of the Apple products that sold out too fast, and see if you were one of the many customers who contributed to one of Apple’s notorious sold-out product launches.
1. Apple Watch bands and bundles
Mitchel Broussard reported for MacRumors in June 2016 that many Apple Watch bands and bundles were listed as sold out on Apple’s website. Broussard noted that while Apple made it clear that some Apple Watch bands would follow a seasonal cycle and leave its store permanently once sold out, “the array of bands unavailable on the store paints an erratic picture of shortages from all three of the Apple Watch’s seasonal collections: Spring 2015, Fall 2015, and Spring 2016.” It was suggested that the shortages could be related to early inventory shuffling ahead of the launch of the second-generation Apple Watch, expected to launch along with the iPhone 7 in the fall.
2. iPhone SE
Neil Hughes reported for Apple Insider in April 2016 that demand for the iPhone SE far outstripped available supply. Most stores were completely out of stock on iPhone SE models, and orders placed online at the beginning of the month weren’t expected to arrive until the end of the month. In-store pickup was unavailable for virtually all models in a number of major markets, though Hughes notes that “there was some sporadic availability of certain carrier, capacity and color combinations.” Demand also exceeded supply internationally, and analysts speculated that markets like China, India, and Brazil were key markets for the budget-priced iPhone SE.
3. iPad Pro
Mikey Campbell reported for Apple Insider in November 2015 that Apple sold out of certain iPad Pro models less than two days after it began taking preorders. At the same time, shipping estimates for the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, which many people consider integral to the iPad Pro experience, stretched to four or five weeks. The initial batch of 128GB iPad Pro models was quickly depleted, though 32GB models remained available. However, the delays affecting the Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard, which many considered essential add-ons, were a problem for shoppers regardless of the storage tier they chose.
4. iPhone 6s
Benjamin Mayo reported for 9to5Mac in September 2015 that all iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models were sold out worldwide ahead of their launch. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus launched in 12 countries, and Mayo noted that while the iPhone 6s Plus was the first to sell out, the iPhone 6s followed suit four days ahead of the official release date. Mayo noted that normally, Apple sells out of new iPhones in a much shorter timeframe. “However, this year, Apple has had another week buffer before the iPhones launch meaning that they could likely build up more inventory and, thus, sell more stock in advance.”
5. Retina MacBook
Lisa Eadicicco reported for Business Insider in April 2015 that Apple’s brand-new MacBook sold out on the first day that it was offered for purchase. The gold version seemed to be in particularly high demand. The silver and space gray models were also sold out, but Apple said that they would be ready to ship on much shorter demand than the gold model of the device.
6. Apple Watch
Chris Smith reported for BGR in April 2015 that Apple sold out of all available launch stock of the Apple Watch in “what felt like a few short minutes” after it began taking preorders. Early buyers quickly found themselves having to accept shipping dates of four to six weeks, regardless of the model that they chose. Even the extremely pricy gold Apple Watch Edition sold out. Ian Sherr reported for CNET that Apple Watches with black straps and those with grey cases were among the first to sell through the initial stock. However, Sherr did note that it was difficult “to gauge how much of the sellout is due to low supplies or high demand.”
7. Mac Pro
Malcolm Manness reported for the Motley Fool in December 2013 that Apple’s new Mac Pro had sold out shortly after it was added to Apple’s lineup. Even standard builds of the device were backordered quickly, according to Apple’s website, which demonstrated surprisingly strong demand for such an expensive, high-end machine.
8. iPhone 5s
Andy Meek reported for Time in September 2013 that customers burned through Apple’s September inventory of the new iPhone less than 24 hours after it initially went on sale. Apple’s online store showed that the iPhone 5s in all colors wouldn’t be ready to ship again until October, and Meek noted that the new gold version of the phone was the first to sell out in each country that participated in the launch. The new iPhone 5c, on the other hand, remained in stock, with models available within 24 hours.
9. iPad mini
Jim Karpen reported for iPhone Life in October 2012 that all models of the iPad mini sold out during the preorder period. The white iPad mini was the first to sell out, with stock depleted “in minutes.” The black model subsequently followed suit, and shoppers who still wanted the new iPad on launch day had no choice but to stand in line at the Apple store to purchase one.
10. iPhone 5
Kevin Smith reported for Business Insider in September 2012 that roughly an hour after the iPhone 5 was first offered for preorder on Apple’s website, it was sold out. Britney Fitzgerald reported for the Huffington Post that heavy traffic on Apple’s website caused a temporary disruption, though some users were able to bypass the website and order directly from Apple’s iOS app. The website warned that even if users were promised launch-day delivery, that might not reflect the stock actually on hand. So plenty were stuck wondering whether they should go ahead and preorder, or brave the Apple store on launch day to get their new iPhones.
11. iPhone 4s
Scott Moritz reported for Bloomberg in October 2011 that preorders for the iPhone 4s quickly sold out at Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. It was the first time that the iPhone was made available simultaneously at the three largest carriers in the United States, and Apple said that it received more than a million preorders on the first day of their availability. Preorders for the iPhone 4s launched shortly after the death of Steve Jobs, and it was estimated at the time that about half of the early iPhone 4s buyers were “Apple aficionados” who purchased the new iPhone every year, while the other half were a mix of people upgrading from older smartphones and those purchasing their first smartphone.
12. iPhone 4
MG Siegler reported for TechCrunch in June 2010 that the stock that Apple had available for iPhone 4 preorders sold out in less than a day. Both AT&T and Apple’s online store were sold out of the device, and while shoppers could still preorder the iPhone 4, they had to wait past the device’s June 24 launch date until July 2 to receive them. The iPhone 4 sold out despite the fact that there were massive failures that prevented would-be buyers from completing their orders. Siegler noted that the failures called into question how fast the device would have sold out if the preorder system had actually worked, and speculated that the iPhone might have sold out twice as fast had more customers been able to place their orders.