Apple iPhone 5 Supply is Improving: Gene Munster

apple iphone 5 supply catching up for sprint AT&T and Verizon

Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, is out with a new report today on Apple’s iPhone 5. Apparently, Thanksgiving is not a day off at Piper Jaffray! Munster notes that based on his nightly checks of 100 Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Stores, he believes that iPhone 5 supply has significantly improved for AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). Sprint supply remains strong. As we get closer to the holiday, Munster believes that consumers will likely have the ability to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with an iPhone 5 within the next two weeks. He is sticking  with his estimate of 45 million unit iPhone sales for December.

Over the last 34 days, Gene Munster has been tracking the availability of the iPhone 5 for next day in-store pick up  To check availability he consistently checks the online Apple Store for local pick-up thirty minutes after more iPhone 5′s become available (More iPhone 5′s become available at 10 pm each night).

Piper Jaffray’s sample consists of 100 major Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)  Stores spread out across the country. The bottom line is that over the past 10 days, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) have shown dramatic improvements in availability, while Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) has maintained consistent availability. Last night, their checks indicated that Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) phones were in stock at 92% of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)  Stores, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was available at 82% of stores and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) at 72% of stores.

Additionally, Munster notes that wait times for online phone orders dropped to two weeks as of today. He believes that within the next two weeks that customers will be able to purchase iPhone 5s at Apple Stores same day.

Furthermore, Munster believes that the first month of the December quarter Mac sales data from NPD points to an in-line Mac number for the quarter. The data was down 16% y/y for the month of October, but he notes that Apple-reported Mac sales have exceeded the NPD number by an average of 12 percentage points in the last three quarters, suggesting a 4% y/y Mac decline. Munster is sticking with his forecast of a 7% y/y decline (4.8 million unit estimate). Nonetheless, the focus of analysts for the December quarter will likely be on iPhone 5 sales.

Disclosure: No position

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