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Low iPhone inventory fortels 3G launch: analyst

Senior Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on Tuesday that the shortage of current iPhone inventory points to an impending upgrade. iPhone stock is running almost completely dry across the US, with flagship stores in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco reporting little to zero inventory.
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Written by Jason D. O'Grady on

Senior Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said on Tuesday that the shortage of current iPhone inventory points to an impending upgrade. iPhone stock is running almost completely dry across the US, with flagship stores in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco reporting little to zero inventory.

The low supply gave an 80 percent chance that an update was coming "earlier than anticipated," according to Munster. There was also a 20 percent chance given that the low supply was evidence of a production problem.

Last week Bank of America analyst Scott Craig pointed to channel investigations which show a 3G iPhone in small numbers in May, with a larger number surfacing in June as Apple. Taiwans Commercial Times added fuel to the fire stating that bidding is underway for 3G iPhone manufacturing. Dow Jones claimed that Hon Hai had already won a contract for production of an updated iPhone.

My question is about how Apple will sell the new 3G iPhone. Will they offer any sort of an upgrade path for existing users? Or will everyone have to buy a new one? Apple has a terrible track record at offering upgrades on anything, so what are the odds that they'll start now? I'm not holding my breath.

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