Apple halts online iPhone sales, stores out of stock

No iPhone for you

In a move which seems totally out of character for them, Apple has stopped selling iPhones through their online store. No “Out of Stock” message or anything to indicate why – they’ve simply removed the “Buy” button.

While this doesn’t absolutely indicate that the 3G iPhone is dropping soon, it .. what am I saying? It definitely indicates that a 3G iPhone is dropping soon. It couldn’t be a bug at this point; it’s been like this for a day now. Apple would certainly notice if their online iPhone sales mysteriously flat-lined for over 24 hours. Unless a large group of people screwed up and then decided to go on vacation simultaneously, something’s going down.

To add to the evidence, every Apple store we called was either completely out of iPhones (both models), or had some miniscule number of 16 GB models left.

So, what is this? It’s a genius marketing move by Apple. It gets the rumor mill churning and crowds buzzing, with little effort or cost on their end. In fact, it could even save Apple money to stop selling the old version a few days before the new one hits the shelves. Everyone who could exchange their suddenly antiquated devices for the fresh model would, so Apple would wind up with’em back in their inventory minus however much it cost them to handle the exchange. They’re offsetting sales a few days to save time and money, and building hype as a side effect.

Anyone want to take a stab at when it’ll hit?