Apple stores faced with iPhone 3G outages, lineups at day's end

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Supply limits and activation woes have left multiple Apple retail outlets short of iPhone 3G stock or else with lengthy lineups, even towards the end of the phone's first day on sale.

Mirroring what it did to inform customers a year ago, Apple has once again posted an iPhone availability page that shows many stores already drained of some or all iPhone 3G models by Friday evening.

Most states have at least one store lacking at least one model, with the most likely absentee being the 16GB black version of the phone. These shortages aren't as severe as for the original iPhone's first weekend, which saw widespread (if short-lived) stockouts, but indicates that even Apple's own stores are at times straining to keep up with demand.

The supply situation is nonetheless known to be much worse in some other countries. Swiss resellers quickly ran out of their initial iPhone stock, while reports received by AppleInsider point to many Canadians being disappointed as Rogers and Fido stores received low allotments, peaking at about 80 devices for Rogers' flagship Toronto store that were quickly sold after the doors opened.

Those visiting American stores with healthy stock have also faced lineups that have sometimes continued well into the evening, triggered by lengthy signup processes and a multi-national activation server outage that made it at times impossible to enable phone service before leaving the store.

At 4PM, an Apple store local to AppleInsider still reported a lengthy lineup of customers at its front doors, while readers report a 25-person line at the Tice's Corner, New Jersey store even near store closing, at 8PM.

The supply deficit and technical issues dampen the impact of iPhone 3G's rollout, which has been one of Apple's single largest coordinated events and saw the California company ship devices to 22 separate countries and a yet larger number of cellular carriers.