Measuring iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S availability
Horace Dediu of Asymco today wrote and shared data on the availability of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S by potential buyers - measured by the subscriber counts of the carriers that sell the iPhone. It's an important and valuable extension of an article I wrote last week, discussing the international rollout of each generation of iPhone and iPad. That analysis had a weakness in that I treated all countries as equal which isn't necessarily true (depending on why you're looking at the data).
Announcing availability in Mauritius is not nearly as important as announcing Madagascar. A better measure would be to track the countries’ populations being added, or, better still, the populations which subscribe to operators who have a distribution contract with Apple.
So instead, Dediu looked at which carriers held the iPhone in each country and what their approximate subscriber count was. By calculating the availability this way, you can now see the potential number of iPhone buyers, as seen in Horace's graph here.
That’s a handy measure: the iPhone 5 was 30% more available than the iPhone 4S. The big contribution was having China and Indonesia available during the fourth quarter rather than in January 2011.
Make sure to head over to Asymco to read the full article and all of Horace's observations, it's an interesting read. If you didn't catch my article last week, it's also available to read here. Just note that if you are trying to compare Dediu's graph with the one in my article (shown here), Dediu went with actual dates whereas I went with relative time. This is because I wanted to look at the first 110 days of every iPhone, Dediu was specifically looking at the fourth quarter availability.