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iPhone shortage eases as Germans get a bargain

Apple is starting to get iPhones back into its U.S. retail stores, and T-Mobile has slashed the price of the 8GB iPhone in Germany ahead of an expected 3G launch.

Despite sitting out the CTIA 2008 conference, Apple's iPhone business had an eventful week.

After a brief shortage, it's getting easier to find iPhones at Apple's stores. CNET Networks

Today, on "This Week in iPhone," we'll address two significant developments. Apple stores around the country are starting to recover from an iPhone shortage, while T-Mobile has cut the price of the iPhone in Germany by 300 euros.

First up, the supply concerns. Apple acknowledged the shortage and told The New York Times that it was working to get iPhones into its retail stores as fast as possible. The cause of the shortage still hasn't emerged, but speculation that a 3G iPhone would be arriving sooner than expected has cooled.

One reason, advanced by Sanford Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi, is that all the newly arriving iPhones are the regular models, not 3G versions. If Apple really was gearing up to launch a 3G model in the near future, it probably wouldn't build inventories of the older models. Sacconaghi thinks that Apple ran into a production issue, and made the decision to allocate the iPhones it had on hand to AT&T's stores, because it can count iPhones shipped to channel partners as sales. Remember, the first quarter just ended last week.

But, Sacconaghi doesn't think the shortage really cost Apple all that much business. "We believe the impact to Apple's overall iPhone sales has been minimal so far, and is likely to be modest unless the shortage persists or worsens," he wrote in a report.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile is running a special on iPhones until the end of June. You can now get an 8GB iPhone in Germany for 99 euros ($154.78), if you choose a hefty service plan. Several analysts think this means the 3G iPhone launch is therefore timed for the end of June, which would make some sense given the identical target date for the iPhone 2.0 software.