Europe Sells Out at iPhone 3G Launch

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
European retailers were sold out of the new iPhone 3G before stores in the US even opened on Friday, thanks in part to strong marketing from Apple's mobile partners.



The initial sales surge not only blew through stores' inventory but also delivered a knock-out punch to Apple's iTunes activation servers.



The Swiss daily newspaper "20 Minuten" reported that hundreds waited in line for hours in Zürich in front of the central Swisscom store. The mobile phone provider opened 100 of its retail stores at 6:30 AM and served snacks and water to those waiting in line.







In Bern, Swisscom's main shop in the Christoffel shopping center was sold out of 16 GB iPhones by 8 AM, and was sold out of all iPhones by two in the afternoon. An employee reported that the store had received an initial allotment of 3,000 iPhones. There are over a dozen other Swisscom retail stores in the Bern area, and all were sold out on the first day. Orange didn't open its stores as early in the morning, but was similarly sold out of all iPhones by early afternoon as well.



Several other retail shops in downtown Bern, including Mobilezone, Apple Specialist retailer Data Quest, and the Globus department store, which hosts a Swisscom store inside, were all busy selling the new iPhone to slow moving lines three customers deep all morning. All sold out of their inventories by early afternoon, although a few stores had held a unit or two for customers who had called in to reserve one.



Extensive Newspaper Coverage



The night before the launch, Swisscom paid to wrap the daily paper "Blick am Abend," (below) with an iPhone ad promoting the 8GB iPhone for 99 Swiss Francs ($99 US) with the purchase of a two year, 55 Swiss Franc ($55 US) plan, which includes access to 1100 WiFi hotspots.



Swisscom is also selling the iPhone 3G 8GB/16GB without a subscription plan for 519/619 Swiss Francs ($519/619 US), although the unit is still locked to Swisscom for service. Enterprising hackers will likely work around the SIM lock soon, making the Swisscom pricing one of the most attractive deals in Europe.







On Friday, Orange wrapped its own offer over 20 Minuten: the 8GB iPhone 3G for 99 Swiss Francs ($99 US) with a two year contract, although the contract price is higher at 99 Swiss Francs ($99 US) per month. Without a rate plan, Orange is selling the iPhone 3G 8GB/16GB for 759/859 Swiss Francs ($759/$859 US). Orange also includes access to 1,500 WiFi hotspots.









In addition to the service providers' literal newspaper coverage with advertisements, the papers themselves were reporting extensively on the launch, with 20 Minuten touting its own iPhone app featuring a news reader and a video portal. The paper also maintained an online section devoted to the iPhone launch for months.







Blick reviewed the new iPhone 3G as being, despite a few flaws (including its weak 2 megapixel camera, lack of video recording, and inability to forward SMS) "the best smartphone on the market."



.



Too Much of a Good Thing



As reported earlier, the top three Swiss mobile operators have already noted 42,000 iPhones on their networks in the year prior to the official iPhone 3G launch. Retailers who sold out their initial inventory on the first day expected additional iPhone 3G shipments within the week. Supplies of the new iPhone appear to be less constrained in the US, but sales and activation delays still resulted in long lines.



Brisk sales of the new iPhone model, along with iPod touch sales being promoted by mobile carriers (such as the Swiss Sunrise) that are not selling the iPhone itself, promise to build strong support for Apple's new mobile App Store platform. However, the strong surge of demand on launch day has resulted in big problems for both mobile carriers and for Apple.



Mass activations of the new iPhone 2.0 software have temporarily knocked out the company's iTunes servers, preventing new customers and existing iPhone users from completing their iPhone 2.0 software installations and rushing to iTunes to buy the new mobile apps.



The blow to Apple's iPhone App Store service capacity comes just as the new MobileMe service is recovering from its initial transition problems. Originally scheduled to come online yesterday, the MobileMe push messaging service and online suite of apps has just started to become broadly available midday today.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    kiwi66kiwi66 Posts: 7member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    European retailers were sold out of the new iPhone 3G before stores in the US even opened on Friday, thanks in part to strong marketing from Apple's mobile partners.



    Is this a surprise if you read that a whole country like Belgium had exactly 250 iPhones for the launch?

    I bet switzerland had less than 1'000. Given that over 15'000 old iPhones are already imported from USA, this is absolutely no surprise. This is a marketing gag, nothing else. Feedback I have from Switzerland is that the demand is far lower than expected. The Geeks will have taken all iPhones but hefty sim locks and 24 month contracts (even on prepaid!) are a good reason to not buy it.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,690member
    Sounds to me like Apple had anticipated much lower demand this go 'round, thus the shortages.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    csimmonscsimmons Posts: 92member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwi66 View Post


    Feedback I have from Switzerland is that the demand is far lower than expected. The Geeks will have taken all iPhones but hefty sim locks and 24 month contracts (even on prepaid!) are a good reason to not buy it.



    I'm sorry, but WHO ARE YOU and WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
  • Reply 4 of 47
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwi66 View Post


    Is this a surprise if you read that a whole country like Belgium had exactly 250 iPhones for the launch?



    It's official: every authorised shop (in Belgium) did not have more than 15 iPhones.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:

    Is this a surprise if you read that a whole country like Belgium had exactly 250 iPhones for the launch?

    I bet switzerland had less than 1'000. Given that over 15'000 old iPhones are already imported from USA, this is absolutely no surprise. This is a marketing gag, nothing else. Feedback I have from Switzerland is that the demand is far lower than expected. The Geeks will have taken all iPhones but hefty sim locks and 24 month contracts (even on prepaid!) are a good reason to not buy it.



    Feedback from my ass says otherwise.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwi66 View Post


    Is this a surprise if you read that a whole country like Belgium had exactly 250 iPhones for the launch?

    I bet switzerland had less than 1'000. Given that over 15'000 old iPhones are already imported from USA, this is absolutely no surprise. This is a marketing gag, nothing else. Feedback I have from Switzerland is that the demand is far lower than expected. The Geeks will have taken all iPhones but hefty sim locks and 24 month contracts (even on prepaid!) are a good reason to not buy it.



    What a load of rubbish. I stood in a queue of 80 people for 4 hours, saw loads of people walk out with iPhones, and I was in just one of six Swisscom stores in Basel. On top of that there were three Orange stores, plus some independents. Yet they still ran out very quickly. All day I popped in and out of various mobile phone outlets, seeing other people doing exactly the same. There really is huge demand for the iPhone here - it's just a shame the few thousand (apparently 10,000 per week) allocated to CH were a drop in the ocean when Swisscom has a waiting list with 50,000 names on it. This is after all the richest country in Europe (GDP per head of population basis).



    While Swisscom contracts are too long term (24 months really is taking the P155) Orange have a 12 month option - just like all phone companies. While the Orange deals are very generous, the Swisscom ones are expensive for anything other than low use users. Orange also seem to care far more about existing customers than do Swisscom though, as they gave them priority while Swisscom actually acted like they were totally unimportant - they didn't even have prices for contract extensions today.



    Looks like Apple messed up big time here. And why so many of an 8Gb iPhone? That's ridiculous when people are used to an iPod with 160 Gb and an iPod touch with 32 Gb. Do Apple really think people in Switzerland cannot afford the tiny difference in price the networks are offering the two phones at?
  • Reply 7 of 47
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Sounds to me like Apple had anticipated much lower demand this go 'round, thus the shortages.



    If you mean lower demand than the first iPhone, I don't see that at all. I do think they underestimated the level of demand, but there are 22 countries who have received the iPhone this Friday. I wonder how many have been sold today worldwide?
  • Reply 8 of 47
    grahamwgrahamw Posts: 575member
    Gentlemen, I've been informed by a good authority on the Swiss Imperial Family? that Kiwi66 is actually the Empress of Switzerland. Please show her all the respect due to a monarch of a small nation of watchmakers, chocolatiers and yodelers posting on an internet technology board.



    Please keep it clean and polite. Thank you!
  • Reply 9 of 47
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr O View Post


    It's official: every authorised shop (in Belgium) did not have more than 15 iPhones.



    Here's the link if you know how to read Dutch: http://www.standaard.be/Artikel/Deta...1&kanaalid=308



    It gets even worse as the authorised shops in the Netherlands did not have more than 15 iPhones either



    Is Apple buying free publicity by creating an artificial shortage
  • Reply 10 of 47
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kiwi66 View Post


    I bet switzerland had less than 1'000. Given that over 15'000 old iPhones are already imported from USA, this is absolutely no surprise. This is a marketing gag, nothing else. Feedback I have from Switzerland is that the demand is far lower than expected.





    hmm. Which of these statements should I believe? The one above or the one below?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In Bern, Swisscom's main shop in the Christoffel shopping center was sold out of 16 GB iPhones by 8 AM, and was sold out of all iPhones by two in the afternoon. An employee reported that the store had received an initial allotment of 3,000 iPhones. There are over a dozen other Swisscom retail stores in the Bern area, and all were sold out on the first day.



  • Reply 11 of 47
    grahamwgrahamw Posts: 575member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr O View Post


    Here's the link if you know how to read Dutch: http://www.standaard.be/Artikel/Deta...1&kanaalid=308



    It gets even worse as the authorised shops in the Netherlands did not have more than 15 iPhones either



    Is Apple buying free publicity by creating an artificial shortage



    What gives you the idea that it's artificial? The spyshots from Cupertino of employees building forts out of 3G boxes or the Trojan Palette of 3G phones delivered to Redmond?



    It's only artificial if you don't have enough. Rolling it out in 22 countries on the same damn day implies to me that the stock that's been shipped out has been prioritized according to forecasted demands - but that they're not holding any back.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grahamw View Post


    Gentlemen, I've been informed by a good authority on the Swiss Imperial Family™ that Kiwi66 is actually the Empress of Switzerland. Please show her all the respect due to a monarch of a small nation of watchmakers, chocolatiers and yodelers posting on an internet technology board.



    And she's got an army knife, so be careful!

    (Get it? Swiss army knife?)
  • Reply 13 of 47
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr O View Post


    It gets even worse as the authorised shops in the Netherlands did not have more than 15 iPhones either

    Is Apple buying free publicity by creating an artificial shortage



    How many stores are there in Netherland that were selling iPhones today? How many iPhones did the other 21 countries receive?



    Considering that Nokia is from there and has it's own fan base, I wonder if that country isn't one of the lowest for an average iPhone per store. Of course, there are many other factors to weigh, but we need to consider which markets need the most, it's not like Apple has unlimited supply of stock. They take time to produce, package and ship. Since iPhone v2.0 didn't hit Golden Master until 8 days ago all iPhone were packaged and shipped just a week ago. That is a lot of product to push in a short time.
  • Reply 14 of 47
    hutchohutcho Posts: 132member
    Was there any demand like this for the first iPhone? No. There wasn't.



    Everyone was wondering why it wasn't selling well in Europe, and I gave the answer in the beginning - 3G. Now it has that, you can't buy one anywhere because they are all sold out.
  • Reply 15 of 47
    nanoakronnanoakron Posts: 122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hutcho View Post


    Was there any demand like this for the first iPhone? No. There wasn't.



    Everyone was wondering why it wasn't selling well in Europe, and I gave the answer in the beginning - 3G. Now it has that, you can't buy one anywhere because they are all sold out.



    Quoted for truth.



    I queued up with a friend at 6.45am for an 8am opening outside our local O2 store in the UK. I was 13th! in the queue. Number one was there from 4am...



    They had stock of 16 x 16Gb iPhones (lucky me) and about 20 of the 8Gb ones. All had been allocated to people queuing come opening time at 8am.



    They sold out very quickly.



    However, O2 were being complete retards and the majority of people there were waiting to upgrade but they obviously hadn't tried to accommodate the early morning rush - the first guy had to wait an hour and a half for the salesman to get through to the O2 upgrade department by phone.



    The store staff were brilliant and offered around drinks. The problems were definitely not of their making, but from problems at O2 corporate.



    I went back around 4pm because my old 2G SIM didn't work in my (now charged) iPhone and had to get a 3G SIM. The number transferred over about 3 hours later. The store staff were dealing with a large number of people who were still trying to get iPhones.



    They only had very few other enquiries that day - mostly people who thought the iPhone was too big for their pocket.
  • Reply 16 of 47
    poopedpooped Posts: 40member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    How many stores are there in Netherland that were selling iPhones today? How many iPhones did the other 21 countries receive?



    Considering that Nokia is from there and has it's own fan base, I wonder if that country isn't one of the lowest for an average iPhone per store.



    ehrm...

    last time I checked Nokia was from Finland, not the Netherlands.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia



    all the papers here reported the before mentioned 10/20 phones per shop, depending on the size of the city. and t-mobile really doesn't have that much outlets. and believe me, everybody was waiting for it, it is not (as implied) a conservative situation where people stick to their brands. in fact: over the last 6 months I have seen more stores sell unlocked imported iPhones here, than there are t-mobile stores in amsterdam.



    and I find it weird that some reactions here are so condescending towards the european comments on this board, and the world market in general. (especially csimmons' remark of: "I'm sorry, but WHO ARE YOU and WHY SHOULD WE CARE?")

    get your head out of your ar*se, america is not the capital of the world, it doesn't even come close.

    the only thing it is great in is egos and ignorance.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pooped View Post


    ehrm...

    last time I checked Nokia was from Finland, not the Netherlands.



    Mea culpa.



    Quote:

    the only thing it is great in is egos and ignorance.



    Judging by your statement, you are or could be an American.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    poopedpooped Posts: 40member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Judging by your statement, you are or could be an American.



    I was neither saying anything that would suggest I was better or more important than others, nor was I ignorant in the things I said, but maybe I was generalizing a bit, yes.

    it was just a reaction to what felt like a last drop after reading so much from people on this forum recently about iPhone functionality that wasn't necessary because there is hardly a use for it in the states, combined with some other stuff that was all put in such a way as if product development from apple for functions that had no place in the american market were all useless, for any apple product. \
  • Reply 19 of 47
    charelcharel Posts: 93member
    I ordered a 16GB iPhone via the internet shop of TMobile yesterday and was informed that delivery delays were 6 weeks. So the thought that both the supply was hugely inadequate and the demand far greater than anticipated in the Netherlands must be correct.



    I am a firm believer that Apple does not take the European market seriously enough. They could do much better here if they put some effort into it.
  • Reply 20 of 47
    swissmac2swissmac2 Posts: 216member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Charel View Post


    I am a firm believer that Apple does not take the European market seriously enough. They could do much better here if they put some effort into it.



    I think it is more a case that they don't actually understand Europeans. I mean, there's even on this thread an example of someone who can't tell the difference between The Netherlands and Finland. Not surprising when so few US schools teach World Geography any more.



    Apple tried to force a US model of mobile/cell phone use onto the UK and launched with a single provider on an exclusive deal that prevented large numbers of people from applying because O2 simply does not cover all populated areas in the UK. Small wonder loads of people hacked the iPhone then. Europeans are used to having freedom of choice.



    On top of that they launched with an out of date v1 iPhone that only had a brilliant user interface going for it. If they built sales expectations for iPhone 3G on top of past demand, then no wonder they got caught out.



    With iPhone 3g Apple have made significant improvements (although there is still plenty of room for more) and the demand showed that.



    Sometimes Apple is too US centric. Or should that be - too deaf to what Europeans are telling them because as always, as Americans they think they know best?
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