Apple's color guard: iPhone 5c leads to unit upside

Apple's color guard: iPhone 5c leads to unit upside

Summary: Apple didn't offer details about the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s split, but units handily beat estimates. It's likely the iPhone 5c carried the weekend for Apple.


Apple said it sold 9 million iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s devices and the total easily topped guesstimates from analysts looking for a figure ranging from 5 million to 8 million.

Cowen analyst Tim Arcuri was expecting 7 million combined iPhone units. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster was projecting 5 million to 6 million iPhone units over the weekend.


Apple didn't disclose the split between iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, but Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes was expecting sales of 2 million to 3 million iPhone 5s devices and another 3 million for iPhone 5c. Given the supply constraints with iPhone 5s it's safe to assume that Apple's colorful flavors accounted for the better than expected unit counts.

Earlier: iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c sales hit nine million in first weekend, says Apple

In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the iPhone 5s was sold out.

Although there was a lot of consternation about the iPhone 5c pricing and how it may limit emerging market sales, Apple's high-low smartphone strategy appears to be a nice way to get volume and preserve profit margins.

Here's what we need to know going forward to really evaluate iPhone units and the plan with iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.

  1. What was iPhone 5c demand in emerging markets?
  2. How soon can Apple meet demand for the iPhone 5s?
  3. Is iPhone 5c demand sustainable?
  4. What does demand in China look like for Apple?
  5. What are the demographics behind iPhone 5c demand?

 More stories:


Topics: Smartphones, Apple, iPhone, Mobility

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  • Apple phones are desirable

    And they are desirable in the US, in Europe and in Asia including China. With the high price of iPhones the amount they manage to sell in emerging countries might not be huge, but the desire it's there, they can play the "low price" card whenever they feel it's the right time.
    Apples historically builds a business by controlling hardware and software, sell in big quantities (even if far from a leading share), with a very high profit margin - they are doing the game with mobile devices and being the first ones to get there is helping them a lot.

    5C is still very expensive, but it's cheaper and accessible to more buyers for sure.
    • BTW, research said the ratio was 3.7:1 in favour of iPhone 5S

      So analysts that Larry cited are wrong about it, too.
      • Sydney

        In Sydney on Saturday midday there were still some 5S units left in 'Space grey' and a small queue for them.

        There were in the morning a few silver available which went in a few hours.

        The 5Cs you could just walk in without queueing and there was stock of every colour.

        I don't know if they produced more 5C stock or if the 5S outsold it.

        Of course stocking 5 colours x 2 sizes of 5C is not simple.

        3 colours x 3 Sizes also not easy to get right either and I'm sure quite a few people took a different colour or size than they intended.
    • Cheaper?

      No, they pulled the Aluminum back off the 5 and put a plastic back on but, the price remained at $549 for the 16 Gig. It in no way was cheaper.

      As for the sales, I don't know a single person who bought the 5c but, I know several who bought the 5s.
      • I'm sure they will sell more smartphones combined

        Than if they follow the previously strategy of releasing just a new very expensive phone.
        Profit for 5s is probably higher, so Apple is happy to sell more of those.
      • Re: and put a plastic back on


        The iPhone 5C still has an metal case, which is used as antenna. It is just coated with colored plastics.
    • Very desirable in Canada too.
      Arm A. Geddon
  • Can we drop the iPhone 5C is aimed at emerging markets mantra?

    I see nothing about the iPhone 5C to suggest it is targeting emerging markets. It is still too high to be targeting emerging markets. The iPhone 5C was designed to make Apple money. It was not intended to be a low cost phone.
    • It will never happen. The media made up the emerging

      market analysis, and by heaven, they'll stick with it no matter how stupid or foolish it makes them look.
      • Yes the rumours were for cheap

        And the rumours and predictions were wrong - so blame Apple for not meeting them. Why not?
    • More likely

      The iPhone 5C is targeted at consumers who did not buy an iPhone because it is all metal and "too hi-tech".

      I have been trying to get my wife off the iPhone 3GS and her argument has always been: I was a plastic phone with rounded corners, not this all metal thing! Well, now she has an iPhone to like.

      Perhaps Apple will attract now those who preferred Samsung's Galaxy phones because of their looks.
      • I never thought the look of the Galaxy phones were all that good.

        They were OK but nothing to write home about.
  • 6.

    What would iPhone 5C demand have been like had the iPhone 5S not been sold out?
    And maybe 7. - if Apple hadn't tried to sell a 5S and a 5C, would they have had more 5S units, and how many 5S units would they have sold over the weekend then? In other words, because the 5S sold out, we know very little about true 5C "demand."
    • 8.

      How many people will spend top $ to buy a repackaged year-old iPhone that wasn't innovative when it was originally released?
      Jason Barkley
      • "Upgrades"

        I'd like to know what units were being replaced by the 5C and 5S.

        How many of these were bought as "upgrades" for 5's.
      • Jason Barkley

        "How many people will spend top $ to buy a repackaged year-old iPhone that wasn't innovative when it was originally released?"

        Take your head out of the sand.
        • Repackaged?

          Hopefully people who hadn't bought an iPhone 5

          "Wasn't innvative when released"? Has the world gone crazy? Or only the astro-turfers and tech heads? Who cares? Seriously?

          When you buy a car do you refuse to buy one that is not innovative at the time of release? Seriously?

          Is the function of a phone to be innovative? Do you want it to say "I have the latest tech toy"? or do you want it to be functional and practical.

          The iPhone 5 is a very nice phone. the 5C therefore should be also. The 5C is actually quite nice to hold and from the tests I have seen quite durable.

          We updated phones here based on the 2 year contract cycles. We happened to need to replace a phone so updated one of the phones that could be upgraded due to place in cycle. We replaced a 4S with a 5S and handed the 4S on. The 5S won out over the 5C for the user upgrading.

          I have a 5 as my upgrade cycle was 3 months before the 5 launch and again we handed on my phone at the time.

          Now should I have got some other phone that fitted your idea of innovative at the time? Actually no - I wanted 4G and it was the best 4G phone at the time. Not only that it is the right form factor for me. For that and many other practical reasons an iPhone 5 was the right choice.

          Do I care if some other piece of technology exists in another device? Only if it would make a difference to me and only if it is executed well enough to be useful.

          Most tech falls down on the execution. Raw numbers and feature counts are not going to get my attention on their own, except to shake my head at the stupidity of those quoting them as the purpose of life.
  • we know very little about true 5C "demand."

    Good point. If I wanted a 5S, I'd wait until they came back into stock rather than get the 5C. After all, with many contracts lasting two years, it's a long time to be stuck with second best. (By second best I don't necessarily mean worse, just second choice.)

    a colored iphone....which REALLY needs a skin to protect that plastic body.... and Apple laughs all the way to the bank sheeple! SNORE......................
    • Um no - but it's what you do isn't it

      The Android Authority drop tests show the plastic body is very durable.

      I laugh at you for being an ignorant astro-turfer

      The body is metal inside.

      Do you post like this about any other company bringing out coloured phones? Bet you don't!

      You are following the android party line and talking BS - you are the sheep!