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iPhone 5s Waits Are Over

Supply has caught up to demand, most Apple iPhone 5s shoppers will find.
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Supply of the Apple iPhone 5s has finally caught up to demand nearly three months after its release, according to several different store inventory checks. When the device went on sale Sept. 21, stores quickly sold out, and shipping times from Apple's website numbered in weeks. Availability of the device has improved dramatically.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster checked with 60 Apple stores on Dec. 4. According to his research, each store had every model of the iPhone 5s in stock. That means all storage variants, colors, and carriers were represented and available for sale. This represents a significant jump from Munster's finding from just two weeks ago, when he found that only 24% of the various iPhone 5s models were available at stores. In early October, only 8% of the various iPhone 5s models were available.

"We believe Apple has caught up to demand, which we had expected ahead of the core holiday period," said Jaffray in a note to investors Monday. "In reflecting on the supply for the 5s product launch overall, we believe that net-net Apple has done a better job in supplying stores with phones proportional to demand."

[Is someone observing you? Attention Apple Shoppers: iBeacon Is Watching.]

Munster's findings nearly match those of MacRumors.com, which conducted its own inventory checks. MacRumors found between 98% and 99% of the various iPhones were in good supply at 120 Apple stores. Most often, T-Mobile variants were the ones missing, though the unlocked model is also harder to come by.

Just last week, Apple dropped the estimated waiting time for iPhones bought from its online store from three to five days, down to one to three days.

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Apple asked its suppliers to increase output in early October following the early sellouts. Current full-channel inventory is a result of those efforts. The bottom line is nobody should have any trouble finding the iPhone they need.

Inventory of the iPad Mini with Retina Display isn't quite up to par, though. It can be found easily enough in Apple Stores, but it is hard to locate at wireless network operator stores. Each of the operators offers LTE 4G service with the iPad Mini, but the individual models have not yet been widely seeded to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless retail outlets. Most models purchased from Apple's site won't ship for five to seven days.

Inventory of all models of the iPad Air appears to be good, though purchases made from Apple's website don't ship for three to five days.

Consumerization 1.0 was "We don't need IT." Today we need IT to bridge the gap between consumer and business tech. Also in the Consumerization 2.0 issue of InformationWeek: Stop worrying about the role of the CIO. (Free registration required.)