9 Million Isn't the Impressive Apple Number

The market cheered Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) big news this morning, after the company announced sales of 9 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c devices this past weekend. However, there's a more impressive metric that the consumer tech giant published this morning.

First, let's tackle the 9 million devices.

That's great, of course. Apple likely silenced the skeptics. I know that I'm not the only one having a crow omelette for breakfast this morning. 

However, let's put that 9 million figure into its proper perspective. Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 handsets in last year's debut weekend, and yet:

  • The market was unhappy with last year's number, sending the stock 1.3% lower on the day the news came out.
  • We naturally don't know how quickly the smartphone market is growing this quarter, but industry tracker IDC had the global smartphone market growing by 52.3% during the second quarter. Apple would need to have sold 7.6 million devices this time around to keep market share at that pace.
  • Last year's iPhone 5 was launched in just nine countries. Anyone living outside of the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the U.K. would have to wait a few weeks later to order. This year the iPhone was released in all of those markets, as well as China. Availability in the world's most populous nation will naturally juice the numbers.

This doesn't mean that 9 million is not impressive. BlackBerry told investors on Friday that a mere 5.9 million BlackBerry smartphones were sold to end customers this past quarter. Apple sold at least 50% more smartphones in a weekend than BlackBerry pushed through in an entire quarter. 

However, the real number that's impressive here is that Apple has seen 200 million iOS devices upgrade to iOS 7 since Wednesday's debut. It was just 100 million iOS devices updating to iOS 6 at this point a year ago. 

This is the real head-turning metric that many will merely ignore. There was never any doubt that iOS devices were being widely used. App developers know that iOS owners are more active than their Android counterparts, even if Android continues to account for the vast majority of mobile gadgetry sold and consumed on the market.

It's still great to see twice as many people bother to update iOS last week than they did a year earlier, and this bodes well for Apple's loyalty that has come under fire as Android gains share.

This all adds up to a great weekend for Apple, and I didn't even touch on the scarcity factor this time around that may potentially make that 9 million figure even more impressive, but I held back only because there were iPhone 5 constraints last year, too.

Just compare CEO Tim Cook's similar quotes from the press releases these past two launch weekends. 

"The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly," he said this time around. "We appreciate everyone's patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone."

Last year? 

"Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible," he said at the time. "While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone's patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone."

That 9 million figure is still nothing to sneeze at, but the real prize in this morning's press release has to be the 200 million iOS 7 updates.

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  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 6:28 PM, kentuckyfool2175 wrote:

    Another interesting number...how many phones are being returned to apple? Then what does the Asian market look like, 5S%, 5C%, and 5Refurbished%?

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 6:31 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    LOOKS LIKE CARL ICAHN WAS RIGHT AGAIN. APPLE'S NOT GOING TO SELL 28 MILLION IPHONES THIS QUARTER LIKE 2-3 ANALYST SAID LAST WEEK WHO LOWERED ESTIMATES. APPLE IS GOING TO BLOW AWAY OR ANNIHILATE THE NUMBER OF IPHONES SOLD FOR THIS QUARTER ALONE. 50 MILLION WILL UPGRADE. PLUS ALL THE SAMSUNG PEOPLE WHO OWN SAMSUNG PHONES ARE NOW TRYING TO SELL THEM BECAUSE THEY REALIZE THEY ARE JUNK, AND THEY WANT TO GET THE NEW APPLE PHONES INSTEAD. I GUESS THEY'RE TIRED OF HEARING THEIR VOICES CUT IN AND OUT ON THEIR PHONE CALLS, OR CALLS BEING DISCONNECTED BECAUSE THE PLASTIC COMPONENTS CANT FIND A SIGNAL. APPLE IS GOING TO SELL 75 MILLION IPHONES THIS QUARTER ALONE SO YOU BETTER BUY THE STOCK. AND IF YOU HAVE ANY SHORT POSITIONS IN AAPL, YOU BETTER COVER OR YOU WILL LOSE A TON. APPLE STILL HAS $55 BILLION WORTH OF THEIR BUYBACK TO COMPLETE YET, SO WATCH AAPL SOAR

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 6:50 PM, Archaeologist77 wrote:

    I was at a wedding on Friday evening in the Greater Toronto Area (Canada). My cousin's husband manages 7 mobile phone stores and I asked him about iPhone sales on the first day the new Apple iPhones went on sale in the GTA. He gave me these stats:

    1) They sold $65,000 CDN of iPhones on Friday.

    2) They sold-out completely of the iPhone 5S.

    3) They sold a large number of iPhone 5C's, but ALL the buyers of the iPhone 5C were women.

    As we talked during the reception, I noticed that the phone of one of my other (female) cousin's was a iPhone 5 (previous gen) and she had a pink plastic cover on her white iPhone. Is the iPhone 5C appealing to the finer sex? It seems so.

    Maybe we are witnessing the first example of iPhone gender-based dimorphism...?

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 7:01 PM, Fabin81 wrote:

    A large portion of these people are upgrading and getting rid of their 5 before the value drops. I know that game.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 7:59 PM, webguy76 wrote:

    Fanbin81 is right. I don't know a single person that is rushing out to get this dumb new phone except the people that currently have the 5. The only reason this phone is selling so well is because people are afraid that the phone will drop in value because it is discontinued. I looked at that crap sandwich today and there is no way in hell I would spend any money on Apple garbage. It's overpriced crap made in China like everything else.

  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2013, at 10:54 PM, djtetsu wrote:

    webguy76, interesting use of the term garbage, I guess we can call Lexus and BMW the same term if we overlook longest years of highest customer satisfaction polls and highest resell values compared to the competitors. Android, which basically imitated everything from Apple isn't garbage though right.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 7:35 AM, jdmeck wrote:

    And 11 million iTunes radio listeners.

  • Report this Comment On September 24, 2013, at 7:37 AM, jdmeck wrote:

    webguy76 - Apple could raise the dead and you still would not be impressed. Give it up already.

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