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Apple iPhone 6 ship times drop to 3 to 5 days

The 16GB and 64GB flavors of Apple's new iPhones will ship to you in 3 to 5 business days, but you'll have to wait 7 to 10 days for the 128GB variant.

Apple's iPhone 6 is now more readily available. CNET

Want to order an iPhone 6 through Apple's website? You now have to wait just a few days for it to ship, assuming you don't need the highest-capacity model.

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus order page in the US now shows a ship time of three to five business days for the 16GB and 64GB models in all three colors -- silver, gold and space gray -- and from all four major carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

The new shipping estimate for the 16GB variant is an improvement over the 7 to 10 day range listed by Apple late last month and the three to four week range prior to that. The estimate for the 64GB variety has decreased from two to three weeks listed in November.

OK, that's great. But what if you're looking for the 128GB edition of the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus ? Well, then you'll have to wait a bit longer. The new estimate from Apple shows a ship time of 7 to 10 business days for the highest-capacity version, but at least that's a significant improvement from the two to three week range offered last month.

This scenario is a typical one for Apple and its suppliers. Each new iPhone initially faces more demand than supply as the device's manufacturer struggles to produce enough models. In October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the available supply of iPhones wasn't even close to meeting customer demand. Apple sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices in its first weekend of sales.

But as production rates improve and more orders are filled, supplies become less tight and shipping times go down. Since the holiday shopping season has already kicked off, Apple needs to make sure it can satisfy customer demand for its new phones, especially as it faces competition from Samsung and other smartphone vendors.

Of course, consumers who want an iPhone 6 right away can always check their local Apple stores to see if their desired model is in stock for pick up. Apple's website offers a way to do just that. At the iPhone 6 product page, select the parameters for the model you want. At the bottom of the page, click the link to Check availability. Enter your zip code at the next screen and then click the Search Stores button. Apple will show you a list of nearby stores where your chosen model is available.

You can also check a third-party website called iStockNow, which will show you availability for each flavor of the iPhone 6 for any Apple store in the US.

(Via MacRumors)