Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Availability: When Apple (AAPL) launched its new flagship iPhone in September, consumers had to scramble to get their hands on the pricey new handset. More than two months later, retail inventories of the iPhone 5s appear to have finally improved enough to handle current demand, AppleInsider notes. Apple’s online store now shows a 24-hour shipping time for all three colors of the iPhone 5s, when purchased with a two-year wireless contract. Unlocked versions of the phone — purchased without a wireless contract — continue to face a shipping delay of a few days. According to store checks by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, the iPhone 5s is now in stock — in all colors and memory capacities — at most brick-and-mortar Apple Stores across the U.S. Apple’s supply chain partners have been reportedly working over time to produce enough iPhone 5s units to meet demand. Foxconn was recently reported to have its huge Shenzhen factory manufacturing the iPhone 5s around the clock, producing 500,000 units every day. The iPhone 5s was plagued with extremely constrained inventories during its launch, a problem that also dogged the iPhone 5 last year.
U.S. Debut: For the first time, Americans will be able to participate in popular digital holiday gift program from Apple, MacRumors notes. Apple will offer one app, movie or song for free download via its 12 Days of Gifts app between Dec. 26 and Jan. 6. Under the program, Apple does not reveal which items will be available for free until the day they are appear in the app. Consumers then have 24 hours to download the items before they are replaced by the next day’s free item. The app itself is free. Canadian and European consumers have been able to take advantage of the program for years, but this will be the first year that U.S. consumers can use the 12 Days of Gifts app.
Improbable Union: The rivalry between Apple and Microsoft (MSFT) dates back decades, but at least on analyst thinks that the two technology competitors will ultimately merge, CNET notes. According to Money Map Press analyst Keith Fitz-Gerald, “Apple and Microsoft may not only have to work together for the next few years, but may even see a merger in the next five to ten years from now” in order to compete with Facebook (FB) and Google (GOOG). Fitz-Gerald made the prediction during an interview on the Fox Business Network. While the idea may seem outlandish, Fitz-Gerald says that it would make sense for the two companies, whose user bases span “Millennials and the senior citizens who have to have easy-to-use, functional stuff that is transparent between devices.” Of course, government regulators would be extremely unlikely to approve such a corporate marriage, even in the almost inconceivable event the two companies would decide to merge on their own.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.