By Brenda Goh and Yuvraj Malik
(Reuters) -Buyers of Apple's new iPhone 15 Pro Max in some countries including China, Japan and the United States may have to wait until November to get the smartphone, an early sign of strong demand for the company as it started taking pre-orders on Friday.
The indications are likely to ease some worries about demand for Apple's flagship device after a slump in the global smartphone market sapped iPhone sales in the June quarter.
The four-to-five week wait period for the Pro Max in China could also allay fears of a financial hit in Apple's third-largest market amid growing competition from Huawei and Beijing's widening curbs on iPhone use by government staff.
The wait is slightly shorter for iPhone 15 Pro in China at two to three weeks, according to Apple website. It said it could deliver iPhone 15 on Sept. 22, the day the phone goes on sale in stores.
In top market United States, buyers will have to wait for six to seven weeks before getting the Pro Max, the most expensive model in the iPhone 15 model line-up that was launched last week. The wait is five to six weeks for the model in Japan.
But like China, the wait is shorter for the Pro model, with a period of just two to three weeks for the 128 gigabyte version in the U.S. and Japan.
Some analysts said the long wait period also reflected the lower initial supply of Pro Max as Apple faced hurdles in securing supplies of the displays used in the model with thinner bezels than previous iPhones.
Those issues have, however, been resolved, said Nabila Popal, research director for worldwide tracker group, at IDC.
"We expect Apple to get into full gear by the holiday season with shipments highly skewing towards the Pro Max model, which should give Apple a nice bump in its average-selling price."
STRONG CHINA ORDERS
The high-end iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models were sold out on the Apple store on Alibaba's Tmall marketplace within a minute of going on sale, Chinese local media reports said.
On JD.com, one of Apple's biggest sale channels in China, more than 3.4 million reservations were placed in total for the four iPhone 15 models in the run-up to the e-commerce platform opening orders on Friday evening.
"Since the decline of Huawei, the iPhone has been able to attract a massive number of consumers in the more than $600 segment," said Ivan Lam, senior analyst at Counterpoint.
"The new iPhone 15 series, especially the Pro series, will be a good choice for the installed base who are using iPhone 11/12 and looking for an update replacement," Lam said, while adding that Huawei's Mate 60 series will be a challenge to the iPhone.
Huawei launched the smartphone with an advanced chip late last month and it could mark a comeback for the Chinese tech firm, which was once the world's biggest smartphone maker before its business was decimated by U.S. export controls, analysts said.
State media reported this week that better-than-expected sales had prompted Huawei to raise its second-half shipment target for its Mate 60 series by 20% and its forecast for overall new smartphone shipments in 2023 to at least 40 million units.
Huawei's Mate 60 launch was unusual in that Huawei did not carry out any pre-marketing or organise a glitzy event. The company is set to hold an event on Sept. 25, where it is expected to discuss its new smartphone.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)