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Despite initial supply woes, iPhone 5s still represents Apple's most ambitious iPhone rollout to date


Just in time for the holiday shopping season, all variations of the iPhone 5s finally seem to be in plentiful supply across Apple retail stores throughout the country. If you check out Apple's online store, you'll see that all color/capacity/carrier combinations for the 5s are ready to ship within 24 hours (T-Mobile being the exception with a one- to three-day shipping period).

Supply issues are always a concern when Apple releases a new flagship product, but the prolonged supply issues that plagued the iPhone 5s release really took things to an entirely new level. While some rumors laid blame on manufacturing kinks associated with the iPhone 5s fingerprint sensor, it's worth pointing out that the iPhone 5s rollout remains Apple's most ambitious iPhone rollout to date.

As of November 1, the iPhone 5s was already available in 62 countries. Looking ahead, Apple has indicated that it plans to have the iPhone available in 100 countries by the end of 2013.

By way of comparison, the iPhone 3G was available in approximately 70 countries six months after it first hit store shelves, while the iPhone 4s was available in 90 countries three months after it first launched. Note that the iPhone 5 was available in about 97 countries by the end of December 2012, but that rollout wasn't pushed out to as many countries as quickly as the iPhone 5s was. To wit, the iPhone 5, by early December, was available in 47 countries.

The iPhone 5s launch is even more impressive when we consider that more people are buying iPhones than ever, and in more countries and much sooner than ever before. When you toss in an assortment of colors, capacities and, in some instances, carriers, it's easy to see why Apple initially struggled to keep pace with demand.

All in all, Apple's hyper-ambitious iPhone 5s rollout underscores how much larger and more efficient its manufacturing operation has become. Especially when we consider that, historically speaking, each new iPhone model has sold more units than all preceding models combined.

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