Is Apple a victim of its own success?

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

Apple's difficulty in satisfying the massive demand for its iPhone 4 has reportedly prompted frustrated consumers to consider purchasing alternative smartphone models.

"The huge early demand for the iPhone 4 has come at some cost to Apple. Logging 600,000 units on the first day that the product first became available for pre-ordering, the Apple Store and AT&T very quickly became overwhelmed, prompting both to stop taking orders just one day after the pre-order was available," senior iSuppli analyst Tina Teng told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

Is Apple a victim of its own success?"In addition to the order freeze, consumers reacted with dismay to Apple's repeated pushback of its online pre-order shipment date - first from June 24 to July 2 - and then further back to July 14."

According to Teng, supply-related issues and technical glitches such as poor reception have encouraged a number of Apple competitors to step up their promotion of "viable" iPhone alternatives.

"[For example], Nokia is placing its bets on the state-of-the-art N8, which offers real video conferencing over a 3G network, HDMI connection for HD video output, an exchangeable battery, a side-loaded MicroSD memory card up to 32GB and more importantly, support for a Lite version of Adobe Flash.

"[Meanwhile], a second competitor can be found in the 4G EVO, from Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. Billed as the first 4G handset in North America and carried by AT&T rival network Sprint Nextel, the 4G EVO is equipped with a Wi-Fi router capable of supporting eight devices when there is no voice traffic — a feature [sorely] lacking in the iPhone 4."

Teng also noted that a third competitor, Samsung Electronics, has made "bold statements" about plans to double its smartphone market share with a new lineup of Android-powered Galaxy S devices.

However, Teng conceded that the "ambitious plans" of Apple's competitors - coupled with Club Cupertino's "stumbles" -  will likely pose little deterrent to "hordes of devoted Apple fans" aching to get their hands on the next available iPhone 4.

"But while Apple has the enviable benefit of playing to a captive audience, the moves from a battle-weary—yet determined—competition to step up its game are all too real and could pose a real risk to Apple. [So], with threats coming from every corner of the market can Apple afford another slip in its supply chain management?"