Jason Busch, the founder and Managing Director of advisory firm Azul Partner, expects Apple to keep holiday shoppers happy for three main reasons.
Busch says that firstly, Apple has "superior" forecast accuracy than its competitors. Keeping a close eye on where their inventory is at all times, Apple is able to control the particulars accurately, although they don't always get it right. For example, when a new iteration of a product is released -- like the new MacBook Air -- stock of the previous version will dry up in the weeks leading to that release, demonstrating Apple's precision in inventory management.
Secondly, Busch says Apple is "at the top of the [inventory management] food chain" because of its sheer weight in the consumer electronics market. "Apple controls so much volume that it has greater influence over its suppliers, at multiple levels," says Busch.
Finally, Apple can build strong lead times for its most popular products. For instance, the iPad was released in April allowing for strong supply chains to be established well before the expected holiday demand. Gartner supply chain analyst Mickey North Rizza affirms this by saying, "Because Apple brought out the iPad in April, they have had time to ramp things up. Apple's efforts to build a supply chain for each product will continue to create a distinct advantage in the marketplace."
With iPhone 4 and iPad supply shortages having been recently resolved, Apple smoothed the kinks in its related supply chain. Either way, if you're looking to buy a loved one some Apple gear during this festive period, we'd recommend starting early, just to be on the safe side.