Just after the kick off of the holiday buying season, Apple(s AAPL) is demonstrating the superiority of its supply chain and operations. On Monday, the company announced that the iPhone 5 would be going on sale in 54 new countries during December. Including the 47 countries its available in right now, that means Apple will meet and even slightly exceed its stated September goal of 100 countries selling the iPhone by the end of the year.
Even for a company now run by one of the most respected supply chain and operations minds in the business, this is a big milestone for Apple. It is by far the fastest it has ever rolled out a new product. Things weren’t looking good for the 100-country goal back in October and November, as the precision with which the phones needed to be assembled was proving somewhat vexing for Apple’s manufacturer in China. But it looks like those problems have been mostly resolved.
The countries getting the iPhone 5 this month include:
South Korea on Friday, December 7 and on Friday, December 14 in Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. iPhone 5 will also be available on Friday, December 21 in Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St.Vincent & the Grenadines, Tunisia, Uganda and Vietnam.
Inventory of the in-demand device has been tight from the moment it went on sale at the end of September. The natural question following this news is, how will this impact critical holiday gift ordering of a new iPhone? Well, right now, it appears Apple’s supply is just about the highest it’s been since initial release: the company’s website in the U.S. is showing ship times of all new iPhone models at 1 week. In New Zealand, they’re even lower: two to four days, as 9to5Mac noted.