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Stock Shortages Suggest 3G iPhone On Way

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The technology rumour mill often has a nasty habit of putting 2+2 together and getting 4 and sadly that isn't exactly how the industry works.

That said, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is putting his head on the block this week after conducting his own research into US iPhone availability. Speaking with Fortune magazine, Jaffray said he spoke with 20 Apple stores across the US and found not a single iPhone in stock. Zip.

In fact, even online, Apple is quoting a five to seven day wait for its uber-handset - something which seems extreme given the plentiful supply at all other times, including launch. Naturally enough, Jaffray then called on his industry contacts (and no doubt read recent reports) and concluded that US inventory is being cleared out to make way for a 3G version in May or June (I'll be June!).

Now fair dues to Jaffray, he's done his research but I suspect Apple will offer both EDGE and 3G editions of its handset - at least initially - so there shouldn't be such need to scale back availability to this extent. Instead I suggest Apple is merely supplying partners around the world first (AT&T, O2, T-Mobile, Orange, etc) to hit targets, though some cut backs with the inevitable upgrade on the way won't hurt it at all. Stay calm people, stay calm.

In related news, both research sites ChangeWave and iSuppli Corp have given Apple's handset the big thumbs up. The former has discovered that user polls indicate 79 per cent of all iPhone users are happy with their expensive purchase compared to just 54 per cent with runner up BlackBerry. LG and Sanyo came joint third on 40 per cent with Nokia (37 per cent), Samsung and Sony Ericsson (33 per cent), Motorola (32 per cent) and Palm (22 per cent) rounding off results.

As for iSuppli, it learnt that iPhone owners spend just 46.5 per cent of their time talking compared to an industry average of 71.7 per cent on rival models. Internet access, iPod use and emailing also scored at 12.1 per cent, 11.9 per cent and 10.4 per cent verses just 2.4 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively from rival models.

That's some pretty impressive convergence Apple, take a well deserved pat on the back. Now get that 3G model out!

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Apple Store US - iPhone

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