Warning: If you want an iPhone 7 Plus or jet black 7, don't line up at an Apple store

Apple's low supply of the new devices leaves many line sitters disappointed.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Shara Tibken
Alfred Ng
4 min read
Watch this: Apple sold out of iPhone 7 Plus, jet black iPhone 7
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About a dozen spots were being saved as of 9 a.m. PT on Thursday at San Francisco's Union Square store, about 24 hours before the iPhone 7 was available.

Shara Tibken/CNET

If you've got your heart set on an iPhone 7 Plus or the jet black iPhone 7, don't camp out at an Apple store.

Apple late Wednesday confirmed it had sold out of its initial inventory of the new models of the device that are most different from last year's iPhone 6S. The bigger 7 Plus has two cameras and Apple's updated iPhones haven't had a true black version before. Unsurprisingly, Spring on Thursday said the jet black has been the most popular color preordered by its customers.

Any inventory sent to stores has already been reserved, which means anyone who hopes, like years past, to walk into an Apple store to buy an iPhone would be out of luck.

The trouble is, word hadn't yet made it to some people waiting in line to buy those models of the device. Apple store employees plan to notify people waiting in line, but they hadn't yet made the rounds shortly before 9 a.m. PT on Thursday at the store in San Francisco's Union Square.

Roman Domagalaki, a 22-year-old who moved to San Francisco from Texas a month ago, got in line at about 5:30 a.m. PT Thursday with his girlfriend, who had stepped away at the time CNET stopped by the line. His girlfriend had preordered the iPhone 7 Plus but wouldn't get it until October. They decided to wait in line to get it sooner and hadn't heard that it wouldn't be available in the store. When CNET broke the news to Domagalaki, he was surprised.

"They're not [available]?!" he said. "Oh, that is so sad!"

Domagalaki said he was going to call his girlfriend to see if she wanted to wait for the iPhone 7 instead.

"I'm not sure what she's going to want to do now," he said. "The big thing she wanted was the dual lenses."


The first person in line at the Apple store in San Francisco's Union Square sleeps at about 9 a.m. PT on Thursday. But that doesn't stop the person from trying to make a buck. Signs ask for $5 for a photo CNET did not pay to take a picture.

Shara Tibken/CNET

When CNET stopped by the Union Square store at 12:30 p.m. PT on Thursday, a couple people toward the front of the line -- Miguel Elias and Justin Harris -- still didn't know about the lack of availability for the phones they wanted, the iPhone 7 Plus in jet black. Instead, multiple Apple Store employees told them didn't know the exact number of devices they'd get at the store but reassured them they'd likely get 7 Plus units. The men were finally informed at about 3:30 p.m. that they weren't going to get the devices. Harris -- who was second in line -- stayed at the store line anyway while Elias decided to leave and try his luck at Best Buy.

Before word that the iPhone 7 Plus had sold out, the phone was expected to arrive in stores on Friday alongside its smaller sibling. The phones appear nearly identical to last year's models but ditch the headphone jack in favor of wireless headphones or headphones that connect through the Lightning charging port. The most noticeable new features are the dual cameras in the 7 Plus and the two new black versions, including the shiny jet black model.

Apple consistently has long lines of people at its stores to get the newest iPhone the first day it's available. This isn't the first time it's had low supplies of the hottest versions of its devices, but Apple hasn't issued such a warning about no availability before.

September 2013's iPhone 5S launch, for instance, marked the first time Apple sold a gold model of it phone. The first people in line at Apple's flagship store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue waited 15 days for the 64GB gold iPhone 5S only to find out the store had a very limited supply of that device available. The first person in line initially was told the store didn't have that model, but Apple later found one for him.


Andreas Francis, who has been in line for eight days at the New York Fifth Avenue store, wants to sell his spot in line since he can't get the iPhone 7 Plus. Still, Apple gave him a $100 gift card for being one of the first 10 people in line.

Alfred Ng/CNET

Jaime Gonzalez, first in line at New York's Fifth Avenue store after getting in line 22 days ago, said he's disappointed but planned to buy the iPhone 7 instead and order the 7 Plus later. Next to him in line was Luis Lorenzo, who had been in line 13 days. Lorenzo said he thinks Apple will surprise him at the store and have a secret stock of 7 Plus units.

"I was here last year and they said the same thing for the Rose Gold, and I got one," Lorenzo said. He won't be buying a regular iPhone 7 if he turns out to be wrong.

Andreas Francis and his girlfriend, Kat Miller, both 18 and from Queens, want to sell their coveted Nos. 3 and 4 spots in line for $700 to $1,000 since the iPhone 7 Plus is sold out. They've been in line for eight days.

"I thought I could get the Plus with this seat, but since I can't, I might as well sell it," Francis said, who already has a pre-order for the iPhone 7.

Miller suggested advertising their spots on Craigslist.

They won't be leaving empty-handed, though, as the first 10 people in line at the New York flagship store got a free $100 gift card from Apple.

Update at 2:15 p.m. PT with info about jet black popularity at Sprint.

Update at 4:30 p.m. PT with info about people leaving for another store

CNET's Brian Tong contributed to this report.

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