The other day we told you that due to the spread of the coronavirus, Apple had informed its Apple Store employees that replacement iPhone units were delayed by two to four weeks
. Instead of having to pick up one of these phones at the store, customers are being informed that they can have the replacement mailed to them and can also receive a loaner for the duration. And you might recall that last month, consumers ordering a new iPhone 11 Pro Max
faced delays as long as 11 days before receiving their new handset.
Now as the coronavirus has touched down in the U.S. and is working its way through the West and East coasts (New York has just declared a state of emergency), it seems that several New York City retailers have exhausted their inventory of new iPhone units. Other stores have very few 2019 iPhone models in stock. The New York Post did an informal survey
of stores in Manhattan; one Verizon rep at a store in the Upper East Side explained that the dearth of iPhone units to sell was not just a problem for individual stores. “We don’t have an ETA on any of the shipments,” the Verizon employee said. “It’s a Verizon-wide issue.”
It is getting harder to find the exact iPhone model you want inside a retail store
However, the impact from the coronavirus doesn’t discriminate against certain carriers. An employee at an AT&T store in the Upper East Side noted that the iPhone 11
Pro has been out of stock there for at least a couple of weeks. And another Verizon rep working in a store on the Upper West Side said, “We got a shipment and it didn’t have any iPhones in it – just flip phones and Samsungs.”
The coronavirus has forced Apple to cut production of 2019 models
Based on a survey conducted by the newspaper, Manhattan AT&T stores have only one or two 2019 iPhone units available in the most popular colors and configurations. Some locations reported having no inventory at all. New York City Sprint stores also have a low inventory of iPhone 11/iPhone 11 Pro models for immediate pickup. However, Sprint is offering three-day shipping for every possible 2019 iPhone model.
While most reps understood that the shortage was a result of the coronavirus, which shut down smartphone production in China last month for a period of time, one AT&T employee said that iPhone 11 inventory is also being managed by the carriers by storing the phones in warehouses. The same employee said that those seeking to purchase a 2019 iPhone inside a store can request two-day delivery.
Besides affecting the production of Apple devices, the coronavirus is also changing the way that the manufacturer’s employees work. Business Insider reports
that Apple is suggesting that those working at Apple Park and Infinite Loop in Cupertino work from home. The company has also restricted travel to affected countries like Italy and South Korea, and the odds grow larger that the annual WWDC developer conference will be canceled.
Just last week, Google axed its I/O 2020 developer conference
that was scheduled to take place in the middle of May, and last month the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade show was canceled. Many phone manufacturers traditionally use the MWC platform to make new phone announcements and have had to unveil their latest models without the hoopla that is associated with the event. Apple’s WWDC is usually held in June. Berlin’s IFA trade show also faces cancellation although it doesn’t take place until early in September.
Apple is reportedly planning to hold a new product event at the end of March during which it is expected to unveil its new entry-level handset, the iPhone 9/iPhone SE2. Even if the announcement is made on March 31st as rumored, the coronavirus could force Apple to delay the unveiling of the phone. Several analysts believe that demand for the device, which should start at $399, could outstrip supply until production returns to normal.