updated 09:15 am EST, Mon January 30, 2012
iPhone 4S now ships immediately
Apple now appears to have at least partially caught up with iPhone 4S demand after listing the device as "in stock" at most countries' version of the Apple Store. The immediate availability applies to every capacity and color. Apple had shortened times to three to five days two weeks ago.
The improved supply arrives more than three months after the 4S shipped. Apple had quickly booked off pre-orders and spent much of the holiday quoting a one- to two-week delay. Carriers' availability has been mixed, but even recently has quoted delays.
An improvement points to Apple having better mastery of its iPhone production than it has in the past, even with the doubled volume that led to 37 million devices shipped. The iPhone 4 had chronic shortages for much of its history. Apple added in its fiscal results call that sales were limited by supply for the iPhone 4S as well, but the addition of Pegatron as a secondary manufacturer and possibly better forecasting may take care of that problem for the winter.
Samsung has claimed to get close to Apple with an estimated 35 million phones shipped, although it doesn't get similar lineups and may have seen considerably fewer actually sold.