iPhone 4: 1.7 million was the best apple could do

iPhone 4 Release, Launch DropIt’s official, the iPhone 4 is hot. Apple announced today that it sold 1.7 million phones in three days. Steve Jobs issued an apology for not being able to meet the demand for the iPhone 4. Don’t get too caught up in that apology. The fact that Apple is sold out is big news and creating plenty of press. Being in demand is never a bad thing. However, reports are surfacing that Apple’s inability to meet demand for the iPhone 4 is partly due to a shortage of the iPhone’s LG display. Had Apple been able to better prepare manufacturers of the upcoming demand for the LG display, Apple might have sold 2.2 million phones and still left plenty of people wanting the iPhone 4.

There’s a lesson to be learned here.

The other day, I struck up a conversation with a stranger and she asked what I did for a living. “I’m an attorney,” I said proudly, as I thought about my enormous student loan payment and overpriced education. “Oh, do you have a business card,” she asked. Unfortunately, the person in my office responsible for putting business cards in my wallet dropped the ball. “I’m all out,” I said sheepishly. It would have been nice to say, “I”m sorry, there’s a shortage of the ultra black, high gloss ink used to print my cards so I wont have any cards for another month.” Regrettably, I had no one to blame but myself. I’ve got a thousand cards sitting on the shelf in my office. Is there any reason I couldn’t meet the demand for my business card?

What about the demand for your attention on Twitter or Facebook when someone sends you an @message or posts on your wall? Every day we make decisions concerning the supply and demand of our time, talent, and expertise. Apple could have been a little more prepared, sold more phones, and still left people stirring at the overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4. I could have had a business card in my wallet.

In business, little is more important than being ready to deliver when you’re in demand. Don’t leave people wanting because you weren’t prepared.

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