iPhone 12 Pro (Max) in short supply in South Africa

The highly anticipated iPhone 12 series was released to the South African market on 18 December 2020 but it appears a very low quantity, massively insufficient for the market, was released thus creating scarcity or what the sellers would prefer to tag as a “sold-out” situation.

The launch of the iPhone 12 series had already been massively delayed and may not be unconnected to a global shortage in supply of parts used in manufacturing the devices. While the series of smartphones were announced by Apple Inc back in October 2020, they would typically have reached South Africa a month from then but this year 2020 has been very different in many ways.

Not only was the launch delayed by about two months, but the quantity released was largely insufficient.

The bigger iPhone 12 smartphones Pro and Pro Max sold out first. The iStores, main premium Apple reseller in South Africa, no longer have stuck and are running a waiting list while other major retailers are mostly out of stock too.

The major mobile network operators are not much different. This writer pre-ordered the iPhone 12 Pro Max with both Vodacom and MTN since 11 December 2020. While Vodacom was in touch the next day to verify and conclude the sale, MTN has not been in touch – aside from an automated email response.

A screenshot showing tracking of a pending iPhone 12 Pro Max order on vodacom
A screenshot showing tracking of a pending iPhone 12 Pro Max order on vodacom

Tracking the delivery of the device with Vodacom is constantly returning the following message:

“Hmmm… The device you’ve chosen is currently out of stock. Once stock is available your order will be dispatched to our courier partner within 24 hours. You can call us on 08217844 to discuss alternative options.”

One of the Vodacom agents this writer spoke to over the phone stated Vodacom only got about 200 units of the higher-end version of iPhone. One can easily imagine that this would be grossly insufficient to satisfy the South African market.

A screenshot that was taken on 26 December 2020 showing the iPhone 12 Pro availability status on Digicape's website
A screenshot that was taken on 26 December 2020 showing the iPhone 12 Pro availability status on Digicape’s website

Digicape is another Apple Premium Reseller in South Africa. According to their website:

  • Apple 12 Pro Max: only 2 of the possible 12 variants are in stock
  • Apple 12 Pro: all 12 variants show “Stock On Order”
A screenshot from Incredible Connection's website on 26 December 2020, shows the iPhone 12 Pro 256GB as being out of stock.
A screenshot from Incredible Connection’s website on 26 December 2020, shows the iPhone 12 Pro 256GB as being out of stock.

Another major South African tech retailer, Incredible Connection, shows no stock for the Pro and Pro Max versions while the online store Takealot is only retailing the regular iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.

Even worse, there’s no clear timeline on when the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max would be available in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the South African market.

Best smartphone cameras in 2020, according to Dxomark
Best smartphone cameras in 2020, according to Dxomark

Aside from the shortage, the iPhone 12 Pro series have been a massive hit due to the excellent camera video and photo features they offer. Good enough for DxoMark to have rated them the best cameras among smartphones available in the United States – in the year 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Please do a follow article, I pre-ordered the pro Max 512gb on the 12 December 2020 from Vodacom, first the automated telephone message said new stock mid jan, now it has changed to mid March.

    By then the phone would be almost 6 months in the global market, I might as well wait for the iPhone 12S/13 later this year.

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