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iPhone shortage hints at imminent refresh

Employee malfeasance and underwear gnome schemes cannot account for the nationwide shortage of retail iPhone availability. As many TUAW readers discovered to their delight, AT&T has been clearing out their refurb iPhone stock and Apple stores are short on the shelves. As Apple's supply chain is almost certainly unimpaired, pundits can only conclude that we're about ready to hit an iPhone refresh.

The question about the refresh isn't whether it will happen or not but rather when. We were guessing June/WWDC for a 3G iPhone announcement and September for a delivery -- after all, new cell equipment has to go through rigorous approval. Stock shortages indicate that at least a memory-based refresh might arrive sooner than later. Right now, Apple customers are experiencing 5-7 day shipment delays on their purchases.

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