iPhone 5s, 5c, iOS 7 launch weekend: How does it compare to previous launches?

iPhone 5s, 5c, iOS 7 launch weekend: How does it compare to previous launches?

Summary: With 9 million new iPhones sold, and 200 million iDevices now running the new iOS 7 operating system, it's safe to say that interest in still strong in the products that Apple has to offer.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple
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According to Apple, people furiously buying new handsets and upgrading their devices over the weekend, with over 9 million new iPhones sold. This, plus all the upgrading that's been going on means that some 20 million iDevices are running Apple's new iOS 7.

Historically, this weekend has been amazing for Apple in terms of sales of new devices, beating all previous weekends and almost doubling the number of iPhone 5 handsets sold over the first weekend, where we saw some 5 million handsets sold.

Historical iPhone sales data for launch weekend
(Data: Apple | Chart: ZDNet)

The sales figures for the new devices is close to exponential, and the sales surge does not seem to have been hampered by the lack of a pre-order for the flagship iPhone 5s. People, it seems, don't mind queuing for iPhones.

This launch weekend also represents the strongest adoption rate of any version of iOS. When iOS 6 launched back this time last year some 100 million devices had been upgraded by this point. For iOS 5, the figure for the similar time period was only 25 million devices.

This will undoubtedly give developers a good feeling about the new platform. And happy developers mean more apps being written that will target the new features bought in with iOS 7.

iOS launch weekend installation data
(Data: Apple | Chart: ZDNet)

We can put this figure into different context by looking at it in terms of iOS device sales. It took Apple eight quarters – two years – before it had sold 20 million iPhones following its release in June of 2007, and it too four quarters – a year – before it sold 20 million iPads following its release in April 2010.

While 9 million iPhones sold is headline-grabbing, I think that the 200 million devices running iOS7 is far more important, and goes to show the power that Apple commands. 

In many ways this is to be expected, since there are far more than 140 million additional iOS devices in circulation now than there was a year ago, but such interest in a iOS release — which, let's face it, is now a yearly occurrence — should be comforting to Apple and a warning to the competition that there's little indication that the iOS and iPhone frenzy dying down.

iPhone fatigue? What iPhone fatigue?

Topics: Mobility, Apple

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19 comments
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  • It's clear where the blame lies

    It's bottom et al. Their vast intellects have clearly driven all and sundry into the clutches of Apple. It's not too late, they can repent etc.
    ego.sum.stig
  • Released concurrently in several countries

    In previous launches, iPhone was only released in US and a couple other countries. This time it came out the same time in Japan, China, and most of Europe. They got a sales spike now, but the following months' sales will be disappointing. I wouldn't rush to buy Apple stock looking for continued increase.
    NotMSUser
    • Apple has been very good at manipulating the numbers.

      For example Adrian compares the sales of the original iPhone to subsequent iPhone sales. But he fails to take into account the fact the initial iPhone was unsubsidized and only available on a single carrier. Then the price was reduced. Then it became subsidized. Then it was released on Verizon. then it was released in other countries. Then to more carries, etc.

      IOW Apple has, over time, expanded the market for their newest phones and thus comparing them to previous releases isn't really an apples to apples comparison.
      ye
      • Manipulations or not, iPhone's sales grow every year, it is hard statistics

        Read the damn SEC filings. You can be in denial however long you want, but there no way to twist the fact.
        DDERSSS
      • AND before anyone comes with BS on the issue of combining two models this

        ... time, it has to be said that independent research says that of 9m milliion 7.5 were iPhone 5S, which is flagman model -- and it is absolute record, too.

        Of course, China now is from day one, but did not just a day and two ago every Android/Samsung fun was enjoying articles of supposedly lukewarm iPhone sales start in China?
        DDERSSS
      • Apple's numbers

        Actually, Apple's numbers are among the most trustworthy.

        Everyone else counts the numbers they flushed into the retail channel (witnesseth the Microsoft Surface).

        Apple doesn't count a sale that doesn't have a customer at the other end.
        varase
        • Ouch!

          You should not have gone here - what will the Fandroids/Winboids say?

          It should also be noted that ZD did the charts based on Apple data . . .
          Gr8Music
        • That is false

          Remember Sprint's continuous losses due to their massive contract with Apple. They bought - therefore Apple sold - a truckload of iphones. Apple reported those as sold. Yet Sprint didn't manage to sell them to customers fast enough which impacted their financials for almost a year I think. Apple does report sold indeed, but not necessarily to a human customer. That's and exaggeration. It also sells to carriers.
          Ghest
      • Ummmm

        The charts show sales from the iPhone 3G on... the original iPhone was the 2G which was released a year prior to the 3G and was initially unsubsidized but eventually became subsidized. The 3G on have all been subsidized.
        athynz
    • So

      you predict the holiday sales will be disappointing?
      CowLauncher
      • He's saying it's not an apples to apples comparison.

        While they sold a lot of phones comparing sales to previous years is foolish if you want to demonstrate demand is growing unless you compare like with like.
        ye
    • Released concurrently

      Well, sure hoss.

      Apple's got to be doomed after selling just 9 million devices in three days. Chances are all the customers they did sell to thought they Microsoft or Samsung store. (Are there Samsung stores?)
      varase
  • It's not surprising about iOS 7 upgrades

    I think many expected more people to upgrade to iOS 7 then previous upgrades, on the fact that it would give a new look to older phones.

    Earlier upgrades added a few features or fixes they could use, but still the same look, so for many if it was feature or something they didn't really care about, they didn't upgrade.
    William Farrel
  • Desperate?

    How many of those people who bought the new and shiny Apple 5s or upgraded are now going.. umm.. why did I bother? I already know several people that have upgraded to IOS7 and hate it with a vengeance.. that said, there are others that love it.. there's no pleasing all the people all the time! I still think it's funny that Apple release a phone in different colours.. when Everyone I know with an Iphone has a cover on it.. Waste of time..
    ursulus
  • 200 million.

    "This, plus all the upgrading that's been going on means that some 20 million iDevices are running Apple's new iOS 7."

    200 million.
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • Lemmings - but genius of Apple to target them.

    Sad to say - but most people are technophobes. The iPhone is the only smartphone that targets neophytes and technophobes. It's your Mom, Dad, and your Sister's phone.
    And there's a lot of moms and dads out there. Real people, not geeks.

    Apple caters to the sort of people who think a "Wizard of Oz" bench in the back is actually an appealing feature (sorry, I mean that arrogantly named "genius bar") rather than condescending and directly insulting to their customer's intelligence.
    Apple IS directly targeting people who long ago accepted they were not tech people. These customers believe geeks who can configure devices are absolute magicians.

    Sure, there are some people who are disgusted (although at this point, unsurprised) that Apple launched basically the same phone as the iPhone 5, plus a fingerprint scanner... cool processor of arguable merit aside. And a new model literally touting the most superficial of features ever - plastic, in colors! And a background wallpaper - of the same color! How exciting...
    ...except it IS exciting - to some people!

    There are many, many people who are actually comforted by this less-than-radical pace. Even the change to iOS7 is scary to these people. Same = good.
    Moms and sisters appreciate a phone whose greatest tech feature is a colored wallpaper. Scoff if you like, but "innovations" like that sell to this demographic.
    Even fingerprint scanners are scary to those people, who blow that off as the "business phone model". Who needs it? Apple is smart to target these people.

    Apple is the only one who caters to this demographic.

    Android has made some progress (and I'd never personally feel my soul burn by joining Apple's extortionistic ecosystem - but I wouldn't hesitate to buy Apple stock!) - but the fact that you have to *rationalize* an Android device purchase to someone over an iPhone purchase speaks volumes about people's perception. Apple doesn't target the people who rationalize their purchase - how fantastic is that for customer loyalty?
    Most importantly, perception is reality... they believe what they want to believe.
    ...Especially to that impressionable and easily frightened demographic.

    Honestly-
    Of course, the plainest, simplest, most mockable (by geeks!) iPhones with the most superficial features yet yet will ring in record sales. And give it a price tag to make people believe they are buying high-end. That'll build a sense of status, to keep the laymen loyal.
    That's Apple's demographic. It makes sense. It's psychology that turns into profit.

    Apple is smart.

    It's their customers that I question... particularly the trend towards a willingness to accept and conclude blindly "this must be best" without rationale (and that's evidenced in trends in politics as well) and with very simplistic suggestions in media and non-media (Facebook?) is what has me worried about the future of America.
    geolemon
  • Comparison lacks smartphone penetration and market share

    Great news for Apple. But the article doesn't mention the fact that the smartphone penetration in the US has exploded since the launch of the iPhone 3G in 2008. The smartphone pie is much larger. The comparison should also include the market share of apple in the past 5 years to see if this was a successful launch...bottom line is 9M units an impressive number when more than half the phones sold in the US are smartphones?
    Kay77
  • Has anybody considered that part of those 9 million iPhones sold,

    are perhaps people doing their Xmas shopping early? The Xmas sales for iPhones may not be as strong as in prior years, if any part of last week-end's sales were early Xmas shoppers.

    What will be interesting to see, is much will be the total sales for the quarter. It could be that, sales for the iPhones won't be as strong as in prior quarters, despite the great numbers of the first week-end of sales.
    adornoe
  • 4s and 5 were released in a similar time frame

    I don't see why we will assist a very different pattern in sales.
    IPhone share is becoming smaller, but with the big growth of the smartphone market, sales keep beating records.
    I predicted long ago a steady market share for iPhone between 10 and 20%, they are already there, with the 5c they can even win a bit.
    The huge initial sales could be explained with China carriers new deals and smaller supplier constrains.

    All in all this is a great sign that Apple is going to have a kick butt Q4.
    AleMartin