Is Apple expecting shortage in iPhone 8 supply?

Apple's stricter return policy in Hong Kong hints iPhone 8 supply at launch is not enough.

apple iphone 8 shortage in hong kong
Dummies of Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are displayed with a figure of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs at a mall selling smartphones in Hong Kong September 12, 2014. Reuters

With Apple Inc's recent change in return policy in Hong Kong, an analyst believes the Cupertino, California-based iPhone maker is expecting a shortage in iPhone 8 supply at launch. Accordingly, Apple is taking the necessary pre-emptive measure to stave off resellers from abusing the availability of the much-anticipated smartphone.

Apple has announced Tuesday on its online store in Hong Kong that it will no longer be accommodating the return of products bought via its website on and after 15 August 2017. While the company has not made any particular reason for the policy change, industry analyst Zhao Ziming believes it is paving the way for the iPhone 8 debut due in the next couple of weeks.

iPhone 8 shortage

Zhao tells South China Morning Post that Apple is apparently poised the iPhone 8 will sell out at launch so it has to safeguard the availability of the forthcoming flagship smartphone from scalpers.

"It shows Apple's confidence on the new handsets as it believes the new iPhones will be in short supply initially", says Zhao. "It's coming up with these tactics to fend off scalpers".

It remains uncertain how long the policy shall take in effect, but Zhao firmly believes that Apple will lift the change as soon as supply will suffice.

Last year's return policy

Return services in mainland China and in other parts of the world have remained unchanged as of press time. However, Apple is expected to roll out a similar policy in the following days while approaching the iPhone 8 launch in September.

In 2016, Apple also imposed a temporary sales policy change ahead of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch, with a similar interest to prevent abusive customers from buying models in bulk and resell them at a higher price. Apple levied a 25 per cent fee for opened Apple and Beats products, instead of the normal 10 per cent.

The iPhone 8 price is expected to clock in at US$1,000.

This article was first published on August 16, 2017