Apple 2.0

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iPhone 5 ship times were down to one week for Cyber Monday

November 26, 2012: 5:26 PM ET

With impeccable timing, iPhone 5 supplies have caught up to demand

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FORTUNE -- It's not for nothing that Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook is known as the master of the Asian supply chain.

Take the iPhone 5.

There was some question when the new iPhone was introduced in mid-September whether he could get production up to speed in time for big holiday selling season.

The demand was there; the 5 million units set aside for pre-orders sold out in less than an hour.

But when ship times grew to 4 weeks and reports of Chinese labor problems surfaced, some analysts began expressing doubts -- doubts that were exacerbated in early November when Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou complained that the phone was not easy to make and warned that Foxconn was "falling short of meeting the huge demand."

The next week, Apple's share price fell below $506 for the first time since February.

By then, however, supply seemed to be catching up with demand. Ship times, which were listed on Apple's U.S. website as between 3 and 4 weeks, fell to 2-3 weeks. A week later, just before Black Friday, they hit 2 weeks. And by 9 a.m. Pacific on Cyber Monday -- the biggest online shopping day of the year -- they were down to one week.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster reported last week that the iPhone 5 was in stock in 9 out of 10 Apple Stores he was monitoring. Now it seems likely that the prediction he made then -- that anyone who wants one in December will be able to walk into any Apple store and buy it -- will actually come true.

SeeĀ Apple has solved its iPhone 5 supply problems - just in time.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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