I'll let you in on a secret: I was thinking about buying the old iPhone XR recently when I was deciding whether to go for a new iPhone 14 or just spend very little on one of the best iPhones I've ever tried, albeit years ago. .

I decided against it, mainly because I'm finishing up a long-term review of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and I'm intrigued by what's to come with the iPhone 14 Max.

Then I read, to my dismay, about possible delays to Apple's 2022 lineup of phones, particularly the new Max (opens in a new tab). But then I wondered: would such a slowdown really be a bad thing?

After all, the iPhone XR has been long overdue and has sold well over the years. So it's not necessarily a problem for Apple if there are problems this year as well.

Let's back up a bit: Since last year, rumors have continued to suggest that Apple would struggle to launch its new iPhone 14 series on time, especially as a Covid epidemic in Shanghai had caused some manufacturers of its phone to shut down. like Pegatron. production for a short time.

Obviously, this would have a ripple effect for anyone expecting a plentiful supply of new iPhones on launch day: the odds are lower if they can't be manufactured quickly right now.

Even though that's a bad thing? Take the case of the iPhone 13, released last year. The effets d'intraînement de Covid et de la pénurie de puces signify that the 2021 iPhone range is not fully manufactured before February 2022, and it has become one of the best-selling iPhone ranges of all times.

The back of an iPhone 13 Pro

(Image credit: LaComparacion)

How can this be when production was not at full capacity? Also in December 2021, since the launch, at the time of its inability to obtain certain iPhone models, with the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max constantly unavailable for retrait in magazines and long-term purchases. delivery term.

While I'm sure Apple hasn't intentionally limited inventory, you only have to look at the fervor generated by the lack of PS5 restocking to see the mania that sets in when something appears to be out of stock.

Even now, I keep hearing someone buy a PS5 and nod their heads in approval as if they've treacherously peaked or won the lottery, where actually supplies are more plentiful these days. .

The psychology of empty shelves is well known: According to a University of Alberta study, shoppers will naturally react to empty shelves more manically than if they see a plentiful sale:

“Out-of-stocks of common items can signal to consumers that a store is not operating properly because the supply has not been properly ordered.

"But for newer items, stores can use it as a message: It's not that they haven't ordered enough, it may be that the product sold out so fast that no one could anticipate it, so buy it while you can." said Paul Messinger, a professor at the University of Alberta Business School, whose study looked at the sale of many items, including ski passes and wine.

The illusion of lust

So if Apple runs out of products when it launches the iPhone 14, it's likely to ensure that stock runs out faster and create a sense of urgency among those who thought they wanted one but hadn't decided sooner.

The study also gives us a clue as to why the iPhone 13 was a bestseller, despite not being a step ahead of previous models critically:

“Out of stock products create a sense of immediacy for customers; they feel that if one product is out of stock, the next item might be out of stock as well,” added Messinger.

It's also a real selling point for Apple. Rumors suggest it's the new iPhone 14 Max that may not be fully available at launch, giving consumers looking to upgrade a double whammy: while many might be waiting for the intriguing new model (which would be cheaper but less powerful compared to the Pro Max, but still have a bigger screen and bigger battery), others might get so caught up in the "new phone day" excitement that they'd opt for one of the available models.

With something similar happening with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, sales suddenly make a lot more sense. After all, it might be time to get an old iPhone XR.

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