Things began to stabilize and become more predictable this week. We have tracked iPhone availability for nine consecutive years, and, absent the COVID years from 2020-2022, there has been a fairly predictable pattern: Take the backlog position after the initial rush, and plan on the backlogs to be erased twice as fast as quoted.
For example, T-Mobile should have their backlog eliminated for the iPhone 15 Pro (128 GB and 256 GB memory SKUs) in about two weeks. It looks like it’s going to take four weeks, but Apple supply miraculously appears and there’s supply in time for a more aggressive Black Friday/ Cyber Monday offer.
AT&T continues to see strong sales and upgrades and has the longest backlogs. This has been the case since 2020. Unlike Verizon’s move last November/ December, AT&T is not going to undertake significant expenses to reduce the backlog, even if it means that there is no actual iPhone present at the Holidays (note – this was a 2022 phenomenon and we do not anticipate any backlog after mid-November for any of the carriers).
T-Mobile is the only surprise this year, with more iPhone 15 Pro availability than we would have expected. There are several competing factors, including an embedded base upgrade option (to one of their newer plans), and they have stuck to a 24-month equipment installment plan offer (vs. 36-month for Verizon and AT&T). We aren’t reading too much into this other than they probably anticipated more of their base would take the iPhone upgrade offer than actually upgraded. Not a big deal as T-Mobile tends to go “light” on iPhone models in stores after the Holidays.
More in the attached charts. Overall, it’s going to be a more predictable and likely “on target” selling season for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. We cannot speak to the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus availability, but do think that if there’s weakness, it’s going to be with these baseline models.