As the old expression goes, “Forewarned is forearmed.” However, as I was disappointed to learn, forearmed is not four-armed—unless you're Doctor Octopus. But if you’re in search of a new iPhone 3GS, you’ll want all the information—and arms—you can get. Fortunately, Apple has once again posted its iPhone Availability Checker to let you know about the status of iPhones in its hundreds of retail stores.
But, like the iPhone, this year’s model of the availability checker is new and improved. Formerly, the status updated only at the end of every day as Apple Stores assessed their stock. Now it’s linked in with Apple’s sales system, so the updates are fresh and piping hot every hour of the day. The availability checker reports in for all models of the 3GS: 16GB or 32GB, black or white. Meanwhile, if it’s the older iPhone 3G you’re in search of, you’ll be happy to know the 8GB device is in stock in all of Apple’s stores. Apple also assures potential customers that new shipments arrive daily, so you can always check back tomorrow.
As of this writing, the 3GS has hit-and-miss availability. My home state of Massachusetts shows mostly available; California seems around fifty-fifty; and Alabama’s two stores are totally sold out. So if you’re setting out for the mall, make sure to check yourself before you Bertolt Brecht yourself—because really, those glasses don't look good on anybody.