Apple just can’t make enough iPhone 3GS units to meet demand, with the latest shortages reported in Ireland, where O2 says demand is much higher than supply.

This follows similar reports emanating from Australia last week, where all Apple’s local carriers also claim demand to be outstripping supply. It’s a pattern of demand that’s being repeated worldwide, for example, 3,000 people attended the Singapore launch of the device there (far surpassing expectations).

Facing customer complaints – one customer has waited three weeks for their new iPhone – O2 firmly pinned the blame on Apple, "There has been unprecedented demand for the new iPhone 3GS since it went on sale in June, not just in Ireland but around the world. We continue to work with Apple to ensure frequent deliveries of stock into Ireland,” an O2 spokesman said.

“However, at the moment, demand continues to exceed supply, as is the case in other countries also. We anticipate that stock levels will improve in the coming weeks," they added.

O2 Ireland said supply should improve in September.

In the background to these supply problems, reports continue to emerge claiming O2 in the UK (we’re not sure about Ireland) will lose its exclusive right to offer the iPhone on October 9. This may be a partial liberalisation, though, it’s possible the iPhone 3GS will remain an O2 UK exclusive.

And in the background, O2 has reportedly attempted to protect itself from any such loss of exclusivity by gaining exclusive rights to offer the Palm Pre in the UK.

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Seth Weintraub

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