iPhone 5S on the holiday wish list? Act fast.

iPhone 5S ship times shrink in advance of holiday shopping season. But can the supply keep up with demand?

Reuters
Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at an event in San Francisco in this file photo.

As recently as October, Apple was dealing with apparent shortages in its stock of iPhone 5S handsets, with ship times hovering around 10 business days. 

But a search of the Apple online store reveals that lead time has now shrunk to 3 to 5 business days for all carriers and all models, including the gold version, which had been all but impossible to locate in some markets – a problem that was attributed variously to supply chain problems and a deliberate effort on the part of Apple to drum up interest in the device. 

Either way, iPhone 5S stock is replenished, and right in time for the holiday shopping blitz.

Released in late September, the iPhone 5S received positive marks from most critics, even if the device didn't exactly represent a massive sea change over the iPhone that came before. 

"Apple’s made a phone that’s going to last, that appears to be ready for whatever technical innovation the industry develops or crazy games we decide to play. But until those things come along, that preparedness can feel very much like Apple’s simply made minor changes," wrote David Pierce of the Verge. "Today, the 5S is but a minor improvement over the 5, with only the camera and perhaps Touch ID truly counting as purchase-worthy upgrades." 

The device enjoyed a strong opening weekend – 9 million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets sold across a range of markets. 

"This is our best iPhone launch yet... a new record for first weekend sales," Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in a press release at the time. "The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible." 

In a report issued last week (hat tip to BGR), research firm TrendForce estimated that moving forward into fiscal Q4 of this year, the iPhone 5S would account for a much larger portion of overall iPhone sales than its 5C counterpart. 

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