Apple is now selling the iPhone 4S by reservation-only in the US and Canada, meaning that you’ll need to reserve a unit by 9 PM for pickup the following day. This indicates that iPhone 4S stock is running low, and Apple wants to ensure that customers are able to walk out of the store with an iPhone 4S in-hand.
The “How to Buy” page on Apple’s website has been updated with information regarding this change in policy. The two options are buying online (with a 1-2 week shipping estimate), or reserving for pickup at a local Apple Store.
As MacRumors notes, Apple is probably not trying to limit walk-in availability by requiring reservations. Because demand for the iPhone 4S has been so high, it makes sense to set aside units for guaranteed customers each day and then distribute remaining stock to walk-in customers.
This morning, Apple announced a record-breaking first weekend for the iPhone 4S, with 4 million units sold. Apple’s newest smartphone is on track to become the fastest-selling consumer electronics product of all time.