There are plenty of high-fives in Cupertino right now. Apple
The initial supply of pre-orders that will be delivered on Friday were gone even earlier. Those reservations were spoken for within the first hour. Folks placing orders now are being told that their shipments won't be received until October.
People who still want an iPhone 5 on Friday aren't out of luck, though. They'll just need comfortable shoes. Lines at some of Apple's 356 stores are already forming, since Apple also sends out an allotment of smartphones for standby customers on a first-come, first-served basis. It's a smart move by Apple, of course. Limit the pre-orders, and turn the queues outside its stores into carnival sideshows.
Potential buyers can also try their luck at the stores operated by all three of the country's major wireless carriers. The lines will be shorter, and there won't be local television news cameras around.
This morning's Detroit Free Press is spelling out the pre-order process that's still in place at some of the leading bricks-and-mortar chains. It's a smart way to secure a phone, though those stores should also have a limited supply of iPhone 5 handsets for walk-in customers.
This may sound like just what the struggling Best Buy and RadioShack need, but let's not forget about the very nature of smartphones. Once someone buys an iPhone 5 at Best Buy, it's not as if they ever have to come back to the store for CDs, movies, games, or books. Apple has direct distribution on all of the media formats. Then there's the low-margin nature of the iPhone 5 when it comes to retailers. RadioShack's margins have been crushed over the past two years, largely on the success of Apple's device.
Apple wins. Again. Get used to it.
A new premium report on Apple details the opportunities and challenges in store for its shareholders. It's also been updated to include new iPhone 5 details! For more details, click here now.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, RadioShack, and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.