SMARTPHONES
Demand outstrips new iPhone supply

Apple said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million first-day pre-orders were logged, double the number for the iPhone 5 two years ago.

The company said demand had outstripped supply of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which feature larger screens and longer battery life. Deliveries of pre-orders will begin Friday and continue through October.

Bumper first-day pre-orders point to first-weekend sales of up to 10 million units, analysts estimated.

“Assuming preorders are similar to the 40 percent of first weekend sales for the iPhone 5, this would imply iPhone 6/6Plus first weekend sales could be around 10 million,” Wells Fargo Securities analysts wrote in a note.

About 2 million pre-orders were received for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours after it went on sale in September 2012. Apple sold 5 million of the phones in the first weekend.

Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5Ss and 5Cs, which were launched last year, in the first three days in stores. The company did not reveal pre-order numbers for those phones.

The company routinely grapples with iPhone supply constraints, particularly in years that involve a smartphone re-design.

Apple’s Web site showed last week that the larger 5.5-inch “Plus” models had a wait time of up to a month. The 4.7-inch version was available for delivery this Friday.

Apple said the new iPhone models will be available to customers in its stores in the United States, Canada, Australia and some other countries Friday morning. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Verizon Wireless and some Apple-authorized resellers will also start selling the phones Friday.

— Reuters

OIL
BP Alaska planning layoffs following sale

BP Alaska, a major player in the state’s oil industry, Monday announced plans to lay off 275 employees and direct contractors early next year.

BP’s business in Alaska will be smaller because of the previously announced sale of its interests in four North Slope oil fields to Hilcorp, spokeswoman Dawn Patience said.

The layoffs, combined with the 200 people whose work was tied to those fields and accepted jobs with Hilcorp, represent about 17 percent of the total number of BP employees and contractors in Alaska, Patience said. BP has 2,725 employees and direct contractors in the state.

When the sale was announced in April, employees were told “the entire business is going to look different at the end of this,” Patience said. “The Alaska business is still very important to BP. It’s just a smaller business than it was before.”

The sale, which Patience said is expected to close later this year, involved all of BP’s interests in the Endicott and Northstar oil fields and a 50 percent interest in the Liberty and Milne Point fields. It also included BP’s interests in the oil and gas pipelines associated with those fields, BP said in April.

BP’s president for Alaska operations, Janet Weiss, said at the time that the sale would allow for BP to focus on maximizing production from Prudhoe Bay and advancing plans for a major liquefied-natural-gas project. BP is working with the state, Exxon Mobil., ConocoPhillips and Trans­Canada. The companies have said the gas-line project, as proposed, would be the largest of its kind ever designed and built.

— Associated Press

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