When the iPhone 4S was launched towards the end of 2011, there were some who were skeptical about its ability to sell as well as its predecessors. This was due to the perception that Apple had only made minor improvements to the iPhone 4. However, shortages of the smart phone quickly ensued, proving this idea to be false and causing Apple to announce that some orders could well be delayed. The question is whether the iPhone 4S is still scarce in the current market or have manufacturers have finally got up to speed, allowing supply to meet demand?
Perhaps the biggest indication that the iPhone 4S is no longer in short supply comes in the form of Apple’s Q1 2012 sales reports published in January. They suggest that the first three months since new CEO Tim Cook took office have been the most successful ever for the firm.
Mr Cook was handed the position of CEO after Apple founder Steve Jobs died last year, stepping into a role that has seen him take charge of one of the world’s most valuable companies. Some had assumed that the untimely departure of Jobs might signal a downward spiral for Apple because of the importance of its visionary leader. However, Mr Cook has clearly had a positive impact and has been able to sustain the company’s growth during his early weeks in charge.
The iPhone 4S and the other available versions in this range sold just over 37 million units over the past three months, helping Apple to increase its revenues to more than $46 billion, with a profit of $13 billion. Shareholders enjoyed a dividend of $13.87 for each share, which is clearly due in part to the 128 per cent increase in iPhone sales that was fuelled by the popularity of the 4S and the increased affordability of 2010’s iPhone 4 and 2009’s 3GS.
There is little doubt that Apple has clearly worked through any problems on the production side of things so that the iPhone 4S handsets can be pumped out of the factory just as fast as they are being snapped up by consumers on the other side of the planet.
Of course, the iPhone 4S was created during a period of supply-chain problems for Apple, with the Japanese tsunami of March 2011 forcing it to push back the launch of the handset into the autumn. This upset its usual summer launch schedule and is likely to mean that the sixth iPhone, due in 2012, will also arrive later in the year to give the iPhone 4S a chance to corner the market once more.
Apple could experience shortages once the iPhone 4S replacement hits shelves because it will almost certainly be using a completely different design and set of internal components compared with its precursor. Experts are predicting that it will have a larger screen, perhaps as big as 4.3 inches across the diagonal, which will completely alter the shape of the device and prevent Apple from using the same parts as it did for the 4S.
Providing there are no major natural disasters, or indeed problems with paint that prevented the white iPhone 4 from emerging for month after month, the next iPhone should be launched on time. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4S is unlikely to sell out in the immediate future.