iPhone 5 Now "Readily Available" at Most Apple Stores

iPhone 5 SupplyImage Credit: AP/Thibault Camus

Supply constraints for the iPhone 5 finally appear to be lessening, over two months after the device first launched. A survey of U.S. Apple Retail Stores conducted by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, and reported by AppleInsider, revealed that the phone was generally in stock and available for walk-in purchase. Further, the shipping time for orders placed at the Apple Online Store has fallen to one week, its lowest point since the first batch of phones sold out during the launch.

Mr. Munster surveyed 20 Apple Retail Stores and found that most models of the iPhone 5 were “readily available” in each store. “We believe the iPhone 5 has finally reached a point where consumers can walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a phone,” Mr. Munster said in his note to investors Thursday.

Of the three carrier variants of the iPhone 5 in the U.S., the Verizon model has been the hardest to find. Mr. Munster’s most recent survey, however, showed that all 20 of the stores polled had availability of at least one model of Verizon phone. “The bottom line is that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are consistently showing 90%+ availability,” Mr. Munster concluded.

iPhone 5 AvailabilityiPhone 5 Availability by Carrier Model (via AppleInsider)

Based on the easing supply constraints, Mr. Munster reiterated his earlier sales prediction of 45 million iPhone shipments for the first quarter of fiscal year 2013, ending December 31, 2012.

Mr. Munster’s findings support similar conclusions from a Citi survey released Wednesday. That survey of 50 U.S. Apple Retail Stores found that 92 percent had “wide availability” of the iPhone 5, with 90 percent promising on-demand availability for walk-in customers.

The iPhone’s increasing availability has resulted in a surge of U.S. marketshare. iPhone sales surpassed Android for the first time in years in October, with Apple taking 48.1 percent of all smartphone sales to Android’s 46.7 percent share. “[W]e predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods,” Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement announcing the sales figures.

For those interested in procuring an iPhone 5, but who hate to wait in lines, now appears to be the earliest opportunity to pick one up at will since the phone’s launch in late September.

[via AppleInsider & CNET]