Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Apple DID NOT Sell 9 Million iPhones This Weekend

Monday, Apple made this press release:

Apple - Press Info - First Weekend iPhone Sales Top Nine Million, Sets New Record

This press release is a blatant attempt by Apple to distract from their very flawed iPhone 5S/5C launch. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray tells the real story to Bloomberg News here. Counting launch sales as Apple has traditionally counted them, a less than exciting 4 million iPhone 5Ss were sold to consumers this weekend. And an additional, but even more disappointing, 1.5 million iPhone 5Cs were sold to consumers. Remember that this launch was Apple's largest ever in terms of geographic regions. It should have been easy to have a record launch.

So his explanation of the discrepancy with Apple's 9 million number? Well, 3.5 million of those sales were simply sales to the channel of iPhone 5Cs but that were not sold to consumers yet. To be clear Apple only sold to consumers 30% of the available iPhone 5Cs. Apple was clearly trying to cover over their less than exciting sales numbers... Never before have they included sales to channels in their launch numbers.

Let me repeat: Never before has Apple included sales to channels in their launch numbers.

Gene Munster tries to put a good face on it by saying that the 5.5 number exceeds the 5 million sales of the iPhone 5 last year, but he's conflating the two iPhones. The 5 million number last year was for just the iPhone 5, the new flagship phone. The corresponding number for this year's flagship, the iPhone 5S is only 4 million. If you consider the fact that the launch was is in more regions this number is even more embarrassing. He does say that the supply of the iPhone 5S was constrained due to problems with the fingerprint sensor... but even so, it was very late in the weekend before iPhone 5S supplies ran out.

There is really no way around the fact that this launch was substantially less than the iPhone 5 launch. It is disturbing that Apple tried to hide this fact by changing what they include in launch numbers.

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