Apple's real iPhone 5 ace: Its supply chain

Summary:Apple's iPhone 5 didn't serve up many surprises, but analysts were impressed that the company is able to manage its supply chain and deliver some aggressive launch dates.

Apple's didn't surprise too many observers with its iPhone 5 features, specs and pricing, but one shocker to analysts was how fast the company could ramp its rollout.

iphone5

Going into the iPhone 5 announcement, analysts expected supply shortages and other constraints. Instead, Apple delivered an aggressive cadence.

To wit:

  • Sept. 12: Apple announces the iPhone 5.
  • Sept. 14: Preorders start.
  • Sept. 21: iPhone 5 ships in U.S., U.K. Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Sept. 28: 20 more countries get the iPhone 5.
  • Year end: 100 countries and 240 carriers will have the iPhone 5.

Now contrast Apple's announcement with other phone launches. Nokia couldn't even give a date for its latest Lumia device with Windows Phone 8.

"We are pleased with the pace of this iPhone’s rollout, which should help drive sales from the end of the September quarter and into the holiday season. We are very surprised Apple can launch this fast since we had expected major constraints," said Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes.

Also: All ZDNet iPhone coverage | All CNET iPhone coverage | Techmeme | Apple statement |  Apple unveils the iPhone 5 (photos)  |  I miss Apple's reality distortion field

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said:

We are raising our September iPhone estimates from 22 million to 27.2 million units given the confirmation of the iPhone 5 launch on September 21. As we have previously noted, we believe Apple could sell between 6-10 million iPhone 5s by the end of September.

It's likely that the iPhone 5 will sell out, but Apple appears to have accounted for any supply issues. Apple's aggressive global rollout indicates that its supply chain and procurement knowhow is unmatched. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore noted:

Overall, the new hardware appears desirable but did not provide any upside surprises on features. That said, a fast geographic ramp (9 countries on Sept 21; another 29 by end of month) and 100 countries on 240 carriers by year end suggests Apple is confident in the availability of supply. We expect significant volume shipments in Sept and stockouts appear likely due to the meaningful refresh (simultaneous form factor and LTE upgrade) and bias near-term iPhone led upside in the September quarter.

More:

Apple's iPhone 5 revealed: roundup

iPhone 5 faces bleak outlook in China

Apple's iPhone 5: Winners and losers

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone, Smartphones

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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