Conflicting reports emerge about iPhone 7 retail stock levels for launch

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

As accounts surface claiming that the iPhone 7 will be particularly constrained at retail for the launch, sources familiar with the matter are saying that they will be no more or less limited at launch day than for any other first day of sale since the iPhone 4.

While the numbers of phones that are expected at retail for Friday's launch are not yet known, AppleInsider has learned that store managers both at Apple retail and other brick-and-mortar stores aren't expecting any more, or any less, stock than they had for previous launches.

"Sure, I've heard the rumors," said an Apple store manager. "It's always tough. Has always been tough during the first few days after everybody got wind of the iPhone."

"We're high-volume, compared to most other stores," the manager said. "It might be different at some of the slower stores, but we'll be able to feed the line for at least a while on Friday."

The same manager told us during initial reports of bad customer experiences with the Apple Upgrade Program that there would be dedicated staff to unload iPhone and Apple Watch shipments for a few weeks after launch.

At other Apple-authorized retailers, the story is different. A Best Buy store manager advised us to wait until mid-October for guaranteed stock, with Target suggesting the end of September before coming in to see any stock at all on the floor.

Microcenter representatives we asked have no idea when there would be stock on the floor for consumer purchase, beyond a time table of "before Christmas, sometime."

Walmart stores will depend on geographical area and historical sales. Stores with larger electronics sections will have floor stock "within a week or two" of release. Stores still retaining the closed-off electronics section with one entry and exit are "low priority" for deliveries, and aren't expecting any phones on the floor before the end of the year.

"Why would Apple want to spread the word about no store stock?" asked a different Apple store staffer. "The media eats that up."