I have been tracking the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’s availability at 10 of Apple’s country websites since preorders became available in September.
Since last Thursday the lead-times for both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have shortened to 1-3 business days for the 16GB and 64GB models in 7 of the 10 countries I am monitoring. Apple’s China site is at 3-5 business days and in Hong Kong and Japan they are showing not available. Hong Kong has been that way since the initial launch in September but in Japan that seems to be the case since last week.
When compared to the iPhone 5 and 5s they were both showing 24 hour or In Stock lead-times by mid-December. However the iPhone 4S was still at 1-2 weeks and didn’t improve to 3-5 days until January 9.
The US has the longest lead-times for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’s 128GB versions at 7-10 business days (except for Hong Kong and Japan). Apple’s iPhone 6 128GB has had this lead-time since September and the 6 Plus only since early December. Except for Canada the other countries are at 3-5 or 5-7 business days.
I started monitoring Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus availability on China Unicom’s site on December 5. At that time it had 2 of the 16GB iPhone 6 versions in stock and all 3 of the 6 Plus’s. When I checked on December 15 there was only the Gold 16GB iPhone 6 in stock along with all 3 of the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus’s. It appears that Apple was smart to delay the initial launch in China by a few weeks since demand appears to be very strong there.
Over the past three months Apple’s iPhone 6 has been by far the best selling smartphone in Japan. It has held the top 3 positions in September, October and November; has held the top 3 and 5th positions all three months and at least 7 of the top 14.
In his latest survey Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray found that 56% of the 12 total iPhone 6 and 6 Plus versions (AT&T and Verizon models) he is tracking were in stock on December 12. This is down slightly from the 58% he observed around November 14. While very limited when I have visited Apple stores the past few weeks they have not had all the various versions available. The store employees have people stand in-line at times to make it fair for customers looking for specific models.
AppLovin process over 25 billion ad requests a day and found that the overall usage breakdown between the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was an 80/20 split. However, when it looking at 11 individual countries there was a definite skew to the 6 Plus in Asian countries. Since it has appeared that the 6 Plus has had more supply constraints than the iPhone 6 it will be interesting to see how this changes over the next few months.
Caso wrote ‘the tone from the Apple supply chain was uniformly positive during our checks. Most suppliers spoke of slight upside vs. expectations in the December quarter for the iPhone.’
He added ‘looking into March quarter iPhone production, we believe production rates remain steady into the mid-February Chinese New Year holiday, which is better than typical behavior. Our current production forecast suggests 50 million iPhones to be produced in the quarter, but we think there is a bias toward potentially revising that higher, as well as a positive mix bias.’ From the dozen plus sell-side analysts I have models from they are expecting Apple to sell 51.4 million iPhones in the March quarter.