How To Easily Check iPhone 3g / 3GS Availability

Updated: The information below, including the URLs, work fine for checking iPhone 3GS availability as well.  If you’re thinking of picking up an iPhone 3GS, be sure to read my iPhone 3GS review first.

With O2 and Carphone Warehouse completely sold out of iPhone 3gs (at least according to their websites), it would appear that Apple Stores are the only place you’re going to find one of the elusive blighters.  But how do you know they’ll have one in stock?  Well fortunately Apple has provided a page on its website that lists all the UK Apple Retail Stores and shows availability of the iPhone 3g in its various guises (the US version is here).

As you can see (click the image to the right to expand), Birmingham Bullring (unfortunately, my nearest store) is particularly light on stock, while most of the others seem ok.  As was widely predicted prior to launch, the black 16GB version is the least well stocked.  And at the moment, it appears as if the white iPhone 3g is only available direct from Apple (I’m yet to hear any reports to the contrary).

If you can put up with an 8GB version, it is in stock in all Apple Stores.  However, with the inevitable release of satellite navigation apps (edit:  Inevitable it was, but it took a while. Read my review of the Navigon iPhone satellite navigation app.) in the app store, I think you’re going to need as much space as you can muster.  It’s also worth pointing out that this page, and indeed all the stock update pages provided by Apple, are updated at 9PM with the next day’s stock levels.  So be sure to check after 9PM the day before your planned purchase.  Of course, unless you intend to be at the store when it opens, ringing up before hand is still advised.

I’m still waiting for my iPhone.  It was ordered online through Carphone Warehouse with guaranteed delivery on Friday.  However, a bug on the Carphone Warehouse website meant it was sent to, and signed for, my local Carphone Warehouse store.  When I went to pick it up on Friday evening, they couldn’t find it, and denied it had ever been there.  Despite the fact it had been signed for.  At this moment I’m still waiting for them to receive new stock, which may be weeks given how carefully Apple has been distributing the handsets to O2 and Carphone Warehouse.  I’ve used this blog to vent my frustrations about poor customer service before, but my experience with Carphone Warehouse was, quite frankly, horrendous.  Lies, constantly changing stories, a general lack of understanding of their own systems, procedures and the law and a complete lack of ownership of the problem left a very sour taste in my mouth and I shall be recommending to everyone (yes, that includes you) that they steer well clear of Carphone Warehouse at all costs.  I’m consoling myself with an upgraded iPod Touch.

What was your experience in getting hold of the new iPhone?  Has it been activated yet?