Asymco: Measuring iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S availability

“In 2011 Apple increased the availability of the iPhone by adding operators,” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco. “In 2012 Apple increased availability by bringing the phone to operators more quickly. The question is: how much did iPhone 5 availability increase, exactly?”

“There is a way to find out. As an approximation, Apple periodically reports the availability of new iPhones by country,” Dediu writes. “For example, Apple stated that they reached 100 countries for the iPhone 5 before 2012 ended. They also gave similar launch data for the iPhone 4S.”

Dediu writes, “However, country-level availability is not ideal because countries vary greatly in their ability to absorb iPhones. Announcing availability in Mauritius is not nearly as important as announcing Madagascar. A better measure would be to track the countries’ populations being added, or, better still, the populations which subscribe to operators who have a distribution contract with Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Dan K.” and “Sarah” for the heads up.]


  1. Also, Mr. Deidu notes the VERY SAME wave of rumors of reduced orders in November 2011, just like it began this year in December 2012. Talk about short memory spans!
    Remember people: we navel gaze on minutia that normals are oblivious about. They simply love their iToys. I was at a meeting in Atlanta and almost every doctor in a 200+ audience had iPads or iPhones. The AV people were all-Mac. The speakers were reading from their iPads. On the plane to and fro walking down the aisle, for every one Andy there were like 20 iToys. Relax.

  2. This article of Horace’s contains one of his more clever deductions. He will be forced to issue a guess in a case with insufficient data, but he dislikes doing that. Here, though, he shows the imagination of a trained engineer, using approximation methods instead of SWAG “methodology” or 3-monkeys consensus averaging. No voodoo or hand-waving for Mr. Dediu.

  3. Still too slow; it takes four months for Apple to start selling new iPhone in all of territories — including quite significant markets, not only Mauritius.

    Apple loses significant sales, because if you add to this all those prior months of waiting/hearsay for the announcement of the new phone, in many cases Apple takes like 8 (EIGHT) months of weak phone sales.

    By the time the new iPhone launches in such regions it only has 4 (FOUR) months of really good sales, and after that the novelty factor is already going away, and new “wait for new iPhone” game starts.

    This has to change; Apple has to learn to make phones much faster than it does not. Maximum release delay for ANY market has to be two months, not four (if you count from the start sales date in primary markets).

  4. The Asymco article uses the limited data available to represent the iPhone’s launch rate, but the measures he uses are not very good ones.  Horace is good at finding and manipulating data, but oftentimes it doesn’t mean very much.

    The chart presented by Horace shows how much slower the iP5 launch was than the 4s … some 20 days slower.  Fortunately, the iPhone 5 launched sooner in the year than the 4s, so by year-end it was available to a large number of consumers.

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