Shortage of iPhone 7 puts buyers on hold

The iPhone 7 in jet black. Not all iPhone 7 buyers in Singapore will receive their handsets today (Sept 16) as Apple has been hit by global supply delays, especially for the model called jet black.
The iPhone 7 in jet black. Not all iPhone 7 buyers in Singapore will receive their handsets today (Sept 16) as Apple has been hit by global supply delays, especially for the model called jet black.PHOTO: REUTERS

Some who have already paid will not get phones, mainly the jet black model, today

Not all iPhone 7 buyers in Singapore will receive their handsets today as Apple has been hit by global supply delays, especially for the model called jet black.

The three local telcos - Singtel, StarHub and M1 - started contacting consumers yesterday to notify them of the handset delay. Meanwhile, many customers who had ordered and paid for the new phone started flooding the telcos' Facebook pages and online forums like Hardwarezone with complaints.

This is the first time that the telcos are flagging a shortage even before a phone has been officially launched here. A Singapore-based Apple spokesman said: "During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers."

All three telcos acknowledged the squeeze. A Singtel spokesman said: "We have been informed that stock for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in jet black in all capacities will not be arriving on Sept 16 as planned."

Due to technical issues on Singtel's website on Wednesday, customers could order the new iPhone only at 10am yesterday. By then, the telco had already informed customers they could not order certain models.

StarHub and M1 - which had taken most of their customers' orders by Wednesday - apologised for the delays.

A StarHub spokesman put the blame on a "last-minute change in iPhone 7 availability at the supplier's end".

Customers who had ordered the affected jet black and silver models were offered another colour. They could also choose to wait but it is not clear when their choice would become available.

An M1 spokesman said the telco will contact customers when there is stock for the unavailable models. "Please be assured that we are working with Apple to fulfil these outstanding orders as quickly as possible," he added.

Some customers asked for a refund, while others wondered when they could get their handset.

One M1 customer going by the moniker James Koh JL, who had paid for a 256GB silver iPhone 7 Plus, said: "Can I know what is the point of the pre-order?"

Project manager Raymond Cheng, 29, who ordered a 128GB jet black iPhone 7 Plus from Apple's online store, understands that he would have to wait two or three weeks for his phone. "I'm disappointed with the delay. But I can wait two to three weeks."

Neither Apple nor the telcos would say how many customers were affected and when they would get their handsets.

Mr Clement Teo, principal analyst at market research firm Ovum, said: "Everyone along the supply chain underestimated the demand for the new iPhone, especially the new jet black model."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'Shortage of iPhone 7s puts buyers on hold'. Print Edition | Subscribe