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iPhone SE demand outstripping supply, says Apple

But CEO Tim Cook says the company is hustling to catch up on production of the diminutive new phone.

Looking for an iPhone SE? You may have a tough time tracking one down.

CNET

The iPhone SE is proving more popular than Apple expected, creating a logjam for consumers trying to snag one.

In Tuesday's conference call to discuss its fiscal second-quarter results, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for the new 4-inch-screened phone has been strong and is exceeding supply.

"We're working hard to get the iPhone SE into the hands of every customer who wants one, as quickly as possible," Cook said on the call.

The online Apple Store reveals a wait time of two to three weeks for virtually all variations of the SE. A check of major cities across the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago, shows the phone as unavailable for in-store pick up at almost every location.

Apple took a gamble releasing a 4-inch phone at a time when consumers have proven fond of big-screened devices. The company is targeted the SE at people who haven't upgraded their iPhones in a while as well as those who want a smaller phone at a lower price tag.

Demand for the SE comes amid dour iPhone sales. On Tuesday, Apple revealed its first-ever drop in iPhone sales with shipments falling 16 percent to 51.2 million last quarter from 61.1 million in the same quarter a year ago. That's especially bad news since Apple generates more than two-thirds of its revenue from the iPhone.

The iPhone SE was released on March 31, so its sales were not reflected in Apple's second-quarter results.

The SE starts at $399 but offers many of the features found in the bigger iPhone 6S, including a speedy processor, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Apple Pay and the latest version of Wi-Fi.