Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 11:58 am.

Apple still can’t keep make iPhones fast enough, even with the familiar 4S design

iPhone 4SOne of the advantages of keeping a similar case design for the iPhone 4S, I thought, was that it would help Apple stay in front of demand. Not quite. The iPhone 4S — which goes on sale tomorrow — has apparently sold out, as shown by the current 1-2 week waiting period for pre-orders on Apple’s online store.

Now, of course, there’s always going to be some sort of ramp-up process in production, and Apple has to think about supplying carriers around the world with batches of new iPhones, not just the initial pre-orderers. We’ll see in a week or two how bad the supply crunch really is, judging by whether walk-up buyers can get access to phones or not.

The important thing, of course, is making sure that the iPhone 4S is in steady availability in about a month, when holiday shopping gets serious. And this serves as another reminder that this really is a new iPhone, even though it looks the same on the outside.

Related: Analyzing Apple’s product cycles: Why the iPhone 4S shouldn’t surprise you