iPhone 5
Apple sold a record 47.8 million iPhones and 22.9 million iPads in Q1 2013, which ended Dec. 29, 2012.Apple's iPhone - a device that's shifted the mobile and app worlds into overdrive. Reuters

It's another Friday in December, which means it's time for more iPhone 5 devices to roll out in more countries around the globe, as per Apple's aggressive product release schedule.

Early this morning, Apple's sixth-generation smartphone launched in 33 new countries including: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Apple released the iPhone 5 in South Korea last Friday, and will release the phone in another 20 countries next Friday just before the Christmas holiday, including Egypt, Mali, and Vietnam.

By the end of December, Apple will have launched the iPhone 5 in 101 countries around the world, including 54 new countries this month alone.

Of the countries to actually receive the iPhone 5 today, Apple is perhaps happiest to add China, the company's second largest market. Apple was very quick to announce its iPhone and iPad launch schedule in China just days after the country's regulators approved the iPhone 5 for sale in the country.

Last week, China was introduced to the iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display (aka. "iPad 4"); with the iPhone 5 available in the country starting today, China now has all of the company's latest-gen iOS devices.

Apple needs these product releases across the globe to offset a rough couple of months in the US stock market. Shares of the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant peaked just above $700 on the NASDAQ in mid-September, only to fall precipitously in the months following the company's iPhone 5 unveiling.

Despite a fall season that introduced countless software and hardware updates across all its iOS and Mac lines, AAPL stock continues to fall; even in the last day, the company's shares have fallen from $529 on Thursday to $507 as of Friday mid-afternoon.

About The iPhone 5

The iPhone 5, Apple’s sixth-generation smartphone, is 18 percent thinner than its predecessor (the iPhone 4S) at just 7.6mm, and is 20 percent lighter than the 4S at 112 grams. The iPhone 5 features a bigger 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio for watching videos in full widescreen, and Apple has again made its new in-cell display a Retina Display, with a screen resolution of 1136 x 640 screen and a density of 336 ppi.

The iPhone 5’s screen, according to an extensive analysis by Amherst, N.H.-basedDisplayMate, is actually a “significant improvement” over the smaller screens in the iPhone 4S and 4 and is also substantially brighter and more accurate than the screen in Samsung’s Galaxy S3, which many consider to be the greatest rival to Apple and the iPhone 5. Read thefull lab comparison here.

The iPhone 5 is also the first Apple phone to feature the high-speed Long-Term Evolution, or LTE, network. Currently, the global LTE carriers supporting this phone include AT&T, Bell, Sprint, Verizon, Telus, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra, EE and SingTel -- as well as a number of regional carriers like Cricket, C Spire, Nex-Tech Wireless, MTA Solutions, nTelos and a slew of others.

The general theme of the iPhone 5 is speed: In addition to support for the LTE network, the iPhone 5 also features a custom-built A6 processor, which actually boasts more than twice the overall processing performance of any iOS device that has come before it, including the third-generation iPad, as well as newly enhanced camera infrastructure and the new 8-pin Lightning dock connector. The iPhone 5 is powered by iOS 6, which features more than 200 new features for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, including several enhancements to its virtual personal assistant, Siri, the handy application for movie tickets and coupons called Passbook and the completely redesigned -- albeit half-baked -- Maps application from Apple.

Apple sells the iPhone 5 in two color combinations -- black and slate, or white and silver -- and at three different storage capacities: The cheapest iPhone 5 comes with 16 GB of space and sells for $199, and after that, it’s $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64GB. Apple will likely sell the phone at a slightly more expensive price point in China, as it does with several other countries in Europe and South America.

Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in Q4 2012.