Last week, throngs of tech-hungry consumers waited for hours to spend $999 on the iPhone X. And while consumer demand led to most Apple stores selling out of the new smart phone, there were other forces at work that also contributed to the shortage.
According to reports by San Francisco news station KTSF and Digital Trends, last Wednesday three thieves staked out a UPS truck and stole over 300 iPhone X smartphones. The devices carry a retail value of about $370,000.
The robbery is thought to have occurred between 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. at the Stonestown Galleria mall in San Francisco. Although the truck was locked, the driver was nowhere in sight. Thieves simply broke in, loaded the phones in a white Dodge van, and fled.
While this trio may have appeared to make a clean getaway, the X, like nearly every mobile phone manufactured over the last 15 years, carries a 15-digit IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity number that allows for checking information about a specific device.
This would put a significant damper on any efforts to re-sell the phones, as this number is assigned by the manufacturer and can be tracked by law enforcement, or anyone else by going to imei.info.
Keeping pace with demand for the most expensive mass-produced smartphone ever made continues to be a struggle for Apple. Lacking UPS truck security and criminal efforts aside, the company’s suppliers are reportedly struggling to meet production quotas for the unique OLED screen that has become the phone’s signature feature.
Analysts feel if this weak link in the supply chain persists too long, it could prevent the X from gaining the market share indicative of new model launches. Current wait periods for the iPhone X are about 5 weeks.