Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max deliveries pushed to November on strong demand

The company is counting on the new model to help reverse a sales slide that’s persisted for three quarters

An attendee holds iPhone 15 Pro Max during an event at Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. Bloomberg
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Delivery times for the recently-unveiled iPhone 15 Pro quickly slipped until November for some configurations, suggesting that demand is strong for the high-end versions of Apple’s new line-up.

Four iPhone 15 models became available for pre-order on Friday in more than 40 countries, following their introduction at an event on Tuesday.

Delivery of the high-end Pro Max model, which starts at $1,199, quickly slipped from September 22 to as late as mid-November in the US.

Shipment times for the blue and black iPhone Pro Max models slipped until as late as October 16, while the natural and white models were delayed until November 13.

Delays affected all storage capacities of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, a version that features a revamped camera and larger screen.

Apple analysts, investors and fans have long used shipment delays to gauge the popularity of a new model.

It’s an imprecise science: Supply chain snags, inventory and logistical issues can affect delivery times as much as demand.

But Friday’s delays suggest that Apple is seeing healthy uptake for the phones, including in China, where there have been concerns about a backlash.

The iPhone accounts for about 50 per cent of Apple’s sales, and the company is counting on the new model to help reverse a sales slide that has persisted for three quarters.

China saw shipment times slip until November for all iPhone 15 Pro Max models, while standard iPhone 15 Pro versions have three- to four-week waits.

China’s Meituan platform, which taps into a network of Apple resellers, processed $27.5 million worth of iPhone 15 orders alone in the opening 30 minutes of iPhone 15 business.

In Canada, there are six- to seven-week wait times for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, while Australia, Japan, the UK, India, Canada, France and Germany had delays of as many as eight weeks for the iPhone 15 Pro Max in natural titanium. These lags could continue to grow as pre-orders are placed.

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Buyers of the standard iPhone 15 Pro with a smaller screen also saw delays, affecting all colours in some storage capacities.

The wait time for those phones, which start at $999, is as late as October 23 in the US as of Friday.

So far, the only base-level iPhone 15 models experiencing delays were the iPhone 15 Plus in pink in all storage capacities, and the pink and green standard iPhone 15s.

The delayed timelines are affecting home deliveries, which means shoppers may have more luck heading to a store.

Some of Apple’s about 270 retail locations in the US still had availability sooner for in-store pick up.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max in natural titanium appears to be the hottest seller so far, with the most limited remaining availability at stores and online.

The Pro Max starting price is $100 higher than last year, and the clamouring for pre-orders suggests Apple’s pricing strategy is not losing it customers.

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When pre-orders began, many users reported that they were unable to place transactions for several minutes and that Apple’s mobile store app crashed at launch or during the order process.

The issues mostly affected customers attempting to trade in an old iPhone or use Apple’s annual upgrade programme. That may also suggest that initial demand is strong.

The iPhone 15 Pro line is a significant update from last year’s models, adding a titanium casing, improved zoom for the camera and a faster processor built on 3-nanometer architecture.

Updated: September 16, 2023, 9:45 AM