Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s iPhone 5 is finally at full availability. The device has been scarce since its launch in mid September across some carrier networks. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the worst hit by the supply bottleneck, but now seems to have stabilized with iPhone 5 availability estimated at over 90 percent.
In a report published Thursday, Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas J. Clinton noted in their survey, which involved 20 stores, all of the stores involved indicated that they had Verizon iPhone 5 units in abundance. The analysts also noted that waiting period for online purchase deliveries was reduced from two weeks to just a week.
The availability of iPhone 5 in stores across the U.S has been a major challenge, but according to the graphical expression by Piper Jaffray; it seems as though the quandary has finally been conquered. The report indicates that the overall availability of iPhone 5 for all carrier networks is well above 90 percent with Sprint Nextel Corportion (NYSE:S), and AT&T recorded nearly 100 percent availability.
The analysts wrote, "we believe that the iPhone 5 is now essentially at full availability. To check availability, we consistently check the online Apple Store for local pick-up thirty minutes after more iPhone 5's become available in 100 Apple Stores (More iPhone 5's become available at 10pm each night)".
Several analysts had predicted Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to ship approximately 45 million units of iPhone during the December quarter. These estimates were made at the height of iPhone 5 supply constraints, but the analysts had predicted that the bottleneck would ease towards the end of the year. Arguably, they had factored this assumption in their estimates.
Piper Jaffray reiterated their 45 million units of iPhone sales for the F1Q13 (the December quarter), which somewhat confirms my statement. The analysts also point out that a majority of Buy-side analysts estimate 43-45 million units of iPhone sales for the quarter. Not so far off their estimates.
The analysts noted, "given that full availability for the iPhone 5 happened two-thirds through the quarter, we believe that there may not be significant upside to our 45 million estimate. We remain positive on shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) noting that despite the recent bounce back, shares still only trade at 11x our CY13 EPS estimate compared to the S&P at 12.5x".
The full availability of iPhone 5 came at the best time, as it coincides perfectly with the climax of the holiday season. There could still be some significant upside on iPhone sales going by the statistics exhibited by ComScore Inc (NASDAQ:SCOR) with regard to online holidays sales. The waiting period is now down to one week for the delivery of the new iPhone 5 upon online purchase, and Cyber Monday logged a historical $1.4B+ in online sales.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has traded below the $600 mark for the better part of November, but as curtains fall for the Holiday season, there is every reason for the stock to beat the odds and rally again for the next two to three quarters. I believe the iPhone maker should improve within the next two quarters as iPhone and iPad sales peak. Moreover, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock is still under-priced in terms of price to earnings ratio, when compared to S&P 500s.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) closed at $582.94 on Wednesday and was up by $5.73 per share, or 0.98%, during pre-market hours.