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Apple's Blockbuster Weekend by the Numbers

By Chris Neiger - Sep 23, 2013 at 6:00PM

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There was a lot of speculation over the weekend as to how many iPhones Apple would sell, but now we have the cold, hard facts -- 9 million of them, to be exact.

After the back-and-forth over the weekend about how long Apple Store lines were, the numbers are finally in -- and they show Apple (AAPL -0.09%) certainly doesn't have a case of the Mondays.

Here's a quick breakdown of the iMaker's iPhone sales and iOS 7 upgrade rate.

Apple's iPhone history
Apple's been known to set record sales after iPhone launch weekends, and this year didn't disappoint. The company said today it sold more than 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c units, compared to 5 million for the iPhone 5 last year and 4 million 4S units in 2011.

iPhone 5s. Source: Apple.

But there are two differences to sales this year compared to iPhone sales in years past. The first is that obviously Apple is selling two iPhones now -- as opposed to one -- and the other is that it started selling the devices in China on the first day. Last year the iPhone 5 launched in Hong Kong a week after it was available in U.S. Both have a positive impact on sales numbers, but even if the sales aren't a one-to-one comparison from previous years, investors shouldn't be too concerned with that. Apple has moved China up in its release schedule and added an additional device to its iPhone lineup. Both have increased initial weekend sales, which is what investors should focus on.

iOS 7 upgrade mania
Apple said 200 million users are now running iOS 7, "making it the fastest software upgrade in history." Over the weekend, devices running iOS 7 surpassed iOS 6 devices just 72 hours after is launch, according to data from Mixpanel.

The speedy upgrades further prove that Apple needn't worry about the fragmentation that plagues Android. Another report by Chitika showed that 32% of North American iOS web traffic was on iOS 7 in just 48 hours, compared to the three days it took iOS 6 to surpass the 30% mark.

Apple is alive and well
Overall, the iPhone sales numbers and the upgrade figures are both huge wins for Apple. The adoption rate for iOS 7 proves Apple still has very loyal customers who are interested in its offerings, and the company is giving additional value to customers who bought phones more than two years ago -- a benefit for both.

Hitting 9 million iPhones sold in one weekend is obviously good news for Apple investors as well. Even though two phones are being sold, you could theoretically add initial weekend sales of the iPhone 5 from last year and the 4S from two years ago and reach the same 9 million in sales. Using that logic, Apple would have at least matched what it's done with its previous two device sales.

One of the biggest takeaways from this weekend is that Apple just launched a mid-product cycle phone with the 5s. It's not an iPhone 6, which will have more upgrades and could potentially create more demand. If Apple can pull in these numbers without releasing an entirely new flagship phone, then hopefully we can expect better results when the 6 comes out. Along that same line, although there are upgrades to the 5c over the iPhone 5, much of the device is the same. So Apple has managed to sell 9 million phones that have great features, but aren't technically "revolutionary" new products. Regardless, investors should be happy to know the iMaker can indeed still sell a lot of phones.

Fool contributor Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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