Stop Worrying About Apple Store Lines

You just can't make this stuff up. I've read multiple headlines this morning all showing conflicting reports on why Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) will sell more, or less, iPhones than it did last year -- all based on how many people are lining up around its stores.

Here are just a few:

  • "Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c draw massive crowds on launch day"
  • "iPhone customer lines flat or slightly up over 2012 -- analyst"
  • "Apple's iPhone 5s And 5c Launch Draws Big Crowds, Including Biggest Ever Line At NYC Flagship Store"
  • "Fanfare fades as Apple rolls out its new line of iPhones"

Apple's 5th Avenue Store in NYC. Source: Apple.

Why the conflicting reports? Because, unfortunately, many media outlets want to be the first to make the call on whether or not the 5c and 5s are successful.

But they're all missing one minor detail -- the facts.

Apple hasn't reported any details on pre-orders of the phones, which is a first for the company. In 2010, we knew 600,000 iPhones had been pre-ordered. Then in 2011 and 2012, Apple said 1 million and 2 million had been ordered, respectively, before the sale launch date.

But we haven't gotten any pre-order numbers for Apple, and we certainly don't have any weekend sales numbers yet. All we have is people standing in line.

Last year, Apple sold 5 million iPhones over its launch weekend and analysts are expecting the company to hit 6 million this year. But until we get the news from Apple, investors need to do one thing: Wait. Relax. Calm down.

The numbers will come out and investors will be able to find out how well consumers responded to the new devices. But for now, counting heads isn't a great strategy for deciding whether to buy or sell Apple stock. When the iPhone 5 launched in China, media reports kept saying lines at Apple Stores in China were small and concluded the phones weren't selling well. Meanwhile, customers were actually buying contract iPhones in other stores, as opposed to the no-contract phones sold in Apple Stores.

So let's all take a breather and wait for the actual sales numbers to surface before we start deciding whether the iPhone 5s and 5c have flopped or flourished. Foolish investors don't make decisions based on headlines, and they certainly take a longer view than what's happening in single day -- or even weekend -- of sales.

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  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 1:13 PM, cazic99 wrote:

    No need for Apple to worry. Samsung sold 6 million S4 in 5 months! If Apple can sell even 5 million in 3 days. It's already way better.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 1:37 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    If Apple was smart they would take a page from Bezos playbook. Stop announcing numbers. Use non specifics. Sales were incredible. Amazing. Demand was extremely strong.

    Also stop breaking out product lines each quarter. Too much info for investors and competitors. Close the Kimono a bit. We don't know what Amazon has sold in Kindle fires and the stock is in the stratosphere will still losing money.

    Apple gives too much info for people to nitpick and find something wrong with. Even if 10 things are great if one thing is bad they will focus on that. I say just give hardware and software breakdown and not devices. Let the street and public guess like Amazon forces them too. You can see it does not hurt your valuation as if Apple had Amazon's valuation it would be over 10 grand per share

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 1:52 PM, jdmeck wrote:

    Good advice from all.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2013, at 1:59 PM, whyaduck1128 wrote:

    The fans made up their minds that this was a smashing success long before the product was even announced, let alone up for sale.

    The critics made up their minds that this was a resounding failure long before the product was even announced, let alone up for sale.

    Rinse and repeat. The same thing happens with every Apple product. I'd love to see someone do a statistical comparison of the wording for each product "review" for each fan/critic. I think they'd find that 75% is word-for-word identical to the given reviewer's last review.

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