Best Buy today sent out emails to some customers who pre-ordered the iPhone 5 from their stores, informing them that they might not actually be receiving the device for quite some time.
9 to 5 Mac also obtained a copy of a Best Buy internal memo that states: "Based on current inventor allocation, we understand we will not have enough iPhone 5 devices to fulfill all pre-orders this weekend." It goes on to say that Best Buy is dedicated to getting the iPhone's into customers' hands "no later than 28 days from launch."
The email sent to customers took a decidedly more personal tone than the memo, calling the customer by name and using empathetic language. A screenshot of an email provided by a 9 to 5 Mac reader read:
I know that you're excited to get your new iPhone 5 and you can be sure we are as excited to sell it to you. Unfortunately, as of the night before the official launch, Best Buy has not received enough of the specific model phone you ordered, and we will not have it available on launch day. You can be certain that we are working very hard to get you, as quickly as possible, the exact iPhone 5 model you pre-ordered. It could take as long as 28 days to find the iPhone you want. However, there is no doubt that the fact you pre-ordered a phone from Best Buy means you will be able to buy it before any consumer trying to find one on their own.
Trust us, we will be able to get you the phone you want - maybe not as fast as you might want, but likely as fast as anyone else at this point.
I really appreciate your patience and willingness to shop Best Buy. We look forward to getting you the phone you ordered with us.
So, did Apple promise Best Buy more iPhone 5s than they delivered, or has Best Buy been selling pre-orders to customers without knowing whether they would be able to fulfill them? Well, consider that this isn't the first time iPhones at Best Buy haven't been available on launch day. According to Consumer Reports, the company pulled the same move last year, and some customers ended up having to wait weeks for their iPhone 4S.