IPhone 6 Plus Starts to Sell Out in Some U.S. Stores

Apple Inc.’s larger iPhone 6 Plus is already selling out at some stores across the U.S.

The Apple store on the Upper West Side in Manhattan was out of the iPhone 6 Plus late yesterday morning, even as the line snaked up the block. Some phone carriers’ stores in Manhattan were also selling out of limited supplies of the iPhone 6 Plus. In downtown Portland, Oregon, customers in line before the store opened said the bigger model was sold out already.

Even before the first day of sales, there were signs that supply of the new device may not meet demand. During the first 24 hours of record pre-orders a week ago, the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a larger display, started having shipping delays of three to four weeks, while some iPhone 6 models faced delays of seven to 10 days.

In Portland, Cory Nguyen, a 19-year-old college student, said he was planning to get an iPhone 6 Plus until he heard employees tell people in line that they had run out of the bigger device. He’s instead settling for two iPhone 6 models that he plans to resell.

“I know people,” Nguyen said. “Everyone wants an iPhone. It’s high demand. It’s extra cash. Students -- trying to make a buck.”

Representatives for Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Sales Forecasts

Carl Howe, an analyst at 451 Research LLC, said Apple may sell 12 million to 15 million new devices this weekend. Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., wrote in a note to investors that he’s projecting sales of 7 million to 8 million, which would fall short of last year’s first weekend sales of 9 million units of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Sacconaghi attributed it partly to supply constraints and to the fact that China isn’t one of the first countries selling the devices.

A survey of 386 iPhone customers waiting in line in New York and Minneapolis yesterday found that 57 percent planned to buy the iPhone 6 Plus and 43 percent the iPhone 6, Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray Cos. in Minneapolis, said today in a report. He had expected a 50-50 split between the two models on the first weekend, though the trend could shift in favor of the iPhone 6 over time, he said.

More customers also intended to buy higher storage capacity than purchasers of the iPhone 5S last year, with 22 percent yesterday choosing the 16-gigabyte version of the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, 52 percent paying for 64 GB and 26 percent opting for 128 GB, the survey showed. For Apple, the shift to higher capacity and larger phones “will provide an incremental benefit to gross margins,” Munster said.

Key Event

Apple’s iPhone rollout is the most important event this year for the Cupertino, California-based company as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook counts on the handsets to maintain sales growth.

Apple stores around the world attracted long lines of shoppers for the debut of the latest iPhones, indicating healthy demand for the bigger-screen smartphones. Across the world, the scene was similar to the one at Apple’s store on Fifth Avenue in New York, where police officers put up barricades as a line stretched more than 10 blocks and the crowd cheered continuously for the 15 minutes before the phones officially went on sale.

A Sprint Corp. store at 42nd Street in Manhattan had no iPhone 6 Plus devices as of 8:30 a.m. New York time yesterday, and the AT&T Inc. store at 46th Street and Madison Avenue was also sold out of the gadget. An employee outside the AT&T store said they started with only a couple and were telling customers they could place orders for November delivery.

Limited Inventory

“At this time, Sprint’s inventory on iPhone 6 Plus is extremely limited and we are in heavy backorder,” Michelle Mermelstein, a Sprint spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “Customers can order this device thorough any of our retail channels with a delivery time of 4-6 weeks.”

A representative for AT&T didn’t have an immediate comment.

At a T-Mobile store yesterday at 8:45 a.m. New York time all but one iPhone was sold out. The remaining phone was a 6 with 128 gigabytes of storage. A store employee said they were expecting a resupply later in the day. Anne Marshall, a T-Mobile US Inc. spokeswoman, said the company was restocking as quickly as possible. She said she wasn’t optimistic that there would be much of the iPhone 6 Plus available.

A Verizon employee at the New York store on 55th Street and Lexington Avenue said the location was out of the iPhone 6 Plus and that it may not be arriving again until December.

John Hartford, 27, came to wait in line during his lunch break for an iPhone 6 Plus at a Verizon store near Grand Central after previously realizing that shipments for the online pre-orders were delayed.

An employee at Verizon “just told me it’s a limited supply,” Hartford said. “It’s nuts, man.”

Debra Lewis, a Verizon spokeswoman, wouldn’t comment on in-store supply and pointed to the company’s website where an iPhone 6 Plus with 128 gigabytes of storage is available to ship by Oct. 31.