Tuesday, November 27, 2012
For anyone hoping to give (or receive) Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5, this Christmas, there’s some good news today. The estimated shipping time listed on the Apple Store’s website is down to only one week. That’s half a month faster than the three to four week shipping time listed on Apple’s website earlier this month. Now that the shipping time has been drastically cut, holiday shoppers can buy with the confidence that their shiny new iPhone 5 will arrive in time to take its place underneath the Christmas tree this December 25
The iPhone 5 has been a difficult item to get since its introduction in mid-September of this year. Roughly five million units of the high-tech phone were allotted for presales, and that entire inventory sold out in just a few hours on Apple’s online store. Meanwhile, lines to purchase the iPhone 5 in person the night it was released stretched for blocks at Apple’s various retail stores throughout the country, and many shoppers were turned away empty-handed. Supply simply was not able to meet the demand.
But it wasn’t merely the extraordinary demand for the iPhone 5 that caused the problem. Apple’s Chinese supplier, Foxconn, has had trouble making the phone, which Foxconn chairman Terry Gou described as “not easy to make.” Evidently the intricacy of the device slowed production and delayed Apple’s efforts to speed manufacturing of the iPhone 5 to a point where supply could catch up with demand. Dissatisfaction among workers at one of Foxconn’s plants, which evidently led to a strike in October, slowed production further, and as Apple struggled to produce enough iPhone 5s to fulfill all the orders, the company’s stock fell below $506 for the first time since February 2012.
The troubles with iPhone production cast further doubts upon Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was already under fire for letting creativity and innovation at the tech giant stagnate. Cook’s ability to follow in former CEO Steve Jobs’ footprints as a guru of tech innovation had long been in question, but Cook was supposedly a master of supply chain logistics. Suddenly, Cook wasn’t delivering on production numbers, which was the area where investors had the most confidence in him.
Luckily for Apple stockholders and tech-heads everywhere, Cook seems to have worked his supply chain magic just in time for the holiday shopping season. Days before Black Friday, the estimated shipping time on iPhone 5s dropped to two weeks, and yesterday, just before Cyber Monday officially kicked off at 9 AM Eastern Time, the estimated shipping time on the iPhone 5 was cut again, this time to just one week. And for those who live within easy distance of an Apple retail store, the news is even better: Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray reported that the iPhone 5 was in stock at nine of the ten Apple stores he was monitoring, meaning that customers can walk in and pick one up anytime they like.