iPhone 5s Launch Sees Frustration as Inventory Sells Out Quick

The iPhone 5s officially launched today, and millions of people across the US have been waiting in lines at Apple Stores, carrier locations and retailers. We’ve known that inventory would be severely limited, and since Apple didn’t put the iPhone 5s up for pre-order, it was every man and woman for him/herself this morning as eager consumers waited in line in order to get the model they wanted.

However, that hasn’t been the case for many line waiters. We’ve been hearing that gold and silver inventory of the iPhone 5s is severely limited, while space grey models are in abundant stock — at least at locations near me, where one Verizon store manager said they had “a ton of space grey models” in stock.

Those wanting gold models probably aren’t going to get them for a while. The Verizon store near me didn’t even have any in stock, and online sales of that version are going quick. Even those who waited for online orders to start were too late, as some users who fiddled around looking for their billing passwords were SOL when they got around to ordering the gold version.

iPhone 5S Shortages

However, those who ordered as soon as sales went live were easily able to grab a gold iPhone 5s with a 1-3 day ship time, while others saw their ship time jump from 1-3 days to 7-10 days between page loads. We ourselves were able to grab a gold iPhone 5s at one of the Apple Stores in San Francisco after waiting in line for several hours.

Apple Stores were no doubt the most popular place to line up at, with New York City’s 5th Avenue flagship store seeing over 1,400 people waiting in line, which is double the line length for last year’s iPhone 5 launch, according to analyst Gene Munster. Carrier stores were much less crowded, though, as we saw as many as only 25-30 people lined up in several stores across Indiana and Ohio. I was able to be third in line when I arrived about an hour and a half before the store opened.

Granted, this is only Indiana and Ohio, so we reckon carrier stores and retail locations in larger cities were a bit more crowded, but it seems overall that Apple Stores were the place to be for a lot of people.

While the iPhone 5s is the star of the show, many people have went ahead and ordered the iPhone 5c in order to spare themselves from waiting in line. Some people are even receiving their iPhone 5c units today, while those who ordered the iPhone 5s will have to wait a few days, although many people gladly paid the $20 overnight shipping fees in order to get the phone on their doorstep tomorrow.

If you waited in line for the iPhone, what was the experience like for you? Let us know in the comments!