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.

iphone5spreorder

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?

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Topics: Smartphones, Apple, iPhone, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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