The Elusive Teaser
Is this the tease of all marketing teases or a mammoth cock-up?
Arriving in San Jose at the weekend intent on buying an iPhone 5S, I find that, according to the Internet monitoring sites, all the local Apple stores – Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Stanford, Los Gatos and Oakridge – have no availability.
Launch date was September 10th. It is now October 13th.
It’s the same in the East. New York Apple stores in Fifth Avenue, Grand Central, Upper West Side and Soho have no availability.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says supplies have been getting tighter right across America over the last few weeks.
Not quite believing that, a month after launch, there is no product available in the heart of Apple’s homeland, I decide on field research. So off on the Caltrain for a $10 round-trip to Palo Alto.
I walk straight past the Apple store on University Avenue and am heading for the hills when I realise something’s wrong. A charming youngster tells me Apple have moved across the street.
There it is – are a brand, spanking new domed, glassy emporium. Magnificent. I ask an Apple-er if there are any 5S iPhones in the store and he tells me I must ask a salesman, although, I suspect, he knew the answer.
The same question to the salesman elicited a “No.”
“Will there be any in later in the week?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Does the Apple store in the Stanford Mall have any?” I asked.
“You’ll have to phone them,” said the salesman.
Helpfully he pointed to a MacBook Air which had the number on its screen.
The Apple store in the Stanford Mall gave the same answers to the same questions.
Why on earth, I wondered, did Apple go ahead with its launch on September 10th knowing that, over a month later, it would have no products to sell?
If this is all a marketing-inspired tease, Apple is taking a devil of a risk with the patience of its customer base.