iPhone 5S UK launch tainted by stock shortages

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iphone-5s-r-3.jpgThis morning’s launch of Apple’s latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, has been marred by stock shortages, with both Apple’s own retail stores and those of the UK networks struggling to meet demand.

iPhone hunters took to Twitter to state that many of Apple’s brick and mortar stores sold out of the handset within an hour of going on sale, including the Regent’s Street, Cambridge and Cardiff stores. Those hoping to pick up the gold-coloured version of the handset were likely to have even less luck, with the variant said to be available in extremely limited numbers from the offset, selling out first.

O2 customers however seem the unluckiest of all. Speaking to Tech Radar, a spokesperson for the network stated that there was no in-store stock of the 5S, and that a pre-order wait could last as long as a month and a half

“We won’t have iPhone 5S stock in stores to sell but customers will be able to place their order with us in-store. They can also order online or over the phone,” said the O2 spokesperson. “If customers are in store they’ll be able to get a demo of the phone and place their order with the help of one of our store advisors.

A similar situation was found at EE, with limited numbers of handsets being held back to primarily satisfy 4G customers, while those on the Orange and T-Mobile networks (under the EE umbrella) were straight out of luck.

Vodafone stock levels were said to be slightly better with some stock in stores available on a “first come, first served basis”, while Three also confirmed that their customers could “go in store or buy online” if they were on the prowl for the 5S.

While the fingerprint-scanning 5S is in short supply then (and will likely fly onto eBay at extortionate prices any minute now), there are still plenty of the iPhone 5C handsets to go around, which appear to have performed very badly at the pre-order stage.

Gerald Lynch