Business Insider Edition

SA hit by shortage of new iPhones

Phumi Ramalepe , Business Insider SA
 Mar 27, 2021, 10:30 AM
iPhone12 Pro series (Apple)
iPhone12 Pro series (Apple)
  • South African iPhone fans face a long wait to get their hands on the new iPhone 12 Pro devices.
  • Apple has been struggling with supply problems, due in part to a shortage of power chips.
  • For more stories, go to

South Africa has been hit by a national shortage of the iPhone 12 Pro series devices and customers are being put on waiting lists for weeks – but ordering online may get you ahead of the queue.  

Apple has been struggled with supply problems for the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max since last year – due in part to a shortage of power chips, Bloomberg reported. The new iPhone 12 phones have 5G connectivity and new camera features, which can guzzle power. The chips are a crucial component for managing power in the iPhone.

The main causes of the shortage are an increased demand for silicon worldwide and disruption across supply chains due to the pandemic, Business Insider previously reported.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini (iStore)
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini (iStore)

In South Africa, the new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max devices are currently in particular short supply.

Local mobile networks, who procure their stock from Apple directly, have been affected.

"The global increase in demand for both the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max has resulted in a shortage of in-country supply of these devices over the past few months", said MTN executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan.

At the moment, MTN has stock of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12 Pro, but the much-desired iPhone 12 Pro Max is still in short supply. The iPhone 12 Pro Max sold out sooner than expected on their online channels.

MTN says that ''due stock constraints we have not yet been able to replenish our stock of these devices," but also reassured customers that the company will "continue to engage with Apple on a weekly basis to secure future supply and greater volumes of the device in line with our customer demand."

"There have been global supply constraints on certain variants of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models since launch," Vodacom’s spokesperson told Business Insider. Vodacom has also experienced sporadic shortages.

The company, however, is confident that "supply is improving and we are receiving a fairly consistent supply at regular intervals, and as a result we are distributing to our stores and customers immediately."  Vodacom’s website shows waiting times of two to three weeks for some devices.

Cell C only has the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini models, while the iPhone12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max remain out of stock.

Although Telkom's website has the iPhone12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max on display, its online contact centre said that the devices have not been available "for a long time".

The official Apple retail reseller in South Africa, iStore, did not comment on the shortage.

But according to information provided to Business Insider, the fastest way to secure a new iPhone may be to order it online and pay for the device on the iStore site. Customers will either have the device delivered to them or can collect it in the store.

Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

  • Indicators
  • JSE Indexes

Get the best of our site delivered to your inbox every day.

Sign Up