Apple Inc may have reported a record-breaking iPhone sales weekend for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C but 9 million iPhone units sold don't necessarily warrant rave reviews for some analysts.
The previous iPhone 5 sold over 5 million units in its first opening weekend while the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 sold over 4 million and 1.7 million units on their first opening weekend respectively.
The reported success of Apple Inc's latest iPhones has led the company to raise its financial forecast for the fourth quarter. Apple changed its previous forecast because it predicts that sales and gross profit margins will be at "near the high end" of previous numbers.
For Apple Inc investors, analysts said they should be careful in factoring in Apple's iPhone opening-weekend sales to future growth expectations. In 2013, Apple has launched two new versions of the iPhone for the first time.
In 2012, customers who opted for the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5 were not counted in Apple's opening weekend sales figures. In this year's opening weekend, the same similar circumstances applied in the iPhone 5C in which sales figures were counted.
Unlike in the previous years, Apple held its iPhone opening weekend sales in more countries last Sept. 20. When the iPhone 4S was released two years ago, Apple Inc included Australia and Canada as two of the launch countries. It was also the first time in company history that Apple's iPhone was offered both in Verizon and Sprint at the opening.
For the iPhone 5 launch, Apple Inc added Hongkong and Singapore to the list of launch countries. NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest telecommunications company, offered the iPhone for the first time on Sept. 20.
It was also the first time that Apple's latest versions, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, made their debut in China. Apple's iPhones were sold in China in 2012, three months after the iPhone 5 was released. Apple's iPhone opening-weekend sales in China alone may have accounted for half of the 9 million units sold announced by the company.
Apple Inc's iPhone sales may not be as strong as everyone thought it would be based on the figures of the weekend sales. When looking at the addition's to this year's iPhone launch together, the Chinese demand, Japan's DoCoMo and the release of another iPhone, the iPhone 5C, may have added a combined 3 million units in sales.
If Apple Inc will take all of these factors out of the equation, the iPhone opening weekend sales may not be as impressive. Analysts said Apple's iPhone 5S may have sold 6 million units, a 20 per cent increase from the iPhone 5's sales figures.
While the 20 per cent sales will still keep Apple Inc shares up, the sales growth would be behind Google's Android operating system at 80 per cent growth in 12 months based on an a report by Strategy Analytics.
Another big boost from China mobile
Apple Inc's sales figures may go up further when China Mobile, the world's largest telecoms company based on the number of subscribers, will begin to offer the new iPhones. Apple is reportedly still under negotiations with China Mobile and analysts expect it to be a successful one.
Aside from China Mobile, Apple may have to do more to increase sales since the iPhone 5C was not the "cheap" iPhone that was rumoured for months. The biggest roadblock to Apple's surge in iPhone sales is the price. Even if the iPhone 5C is cheaper than the iPhone 5S, not all smartphone buyers around the world would see it as a good buy since there are a lot of cheaper phones with competitive specs.
iPhone 5S sells better than iPhone 5C in Australia
Meanwhile, Australian telecom companies were reportedly finding it difficult to sell Apple's iPhone 5C based on the feedback of several retailers.
Localytics, a research firm, conducted a survey to determine the sales of Apple Inc's iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, according to device. The survey found that the iPhone 5S was clearly ahead of iPhone 5C in the US with a sales margin of more than 3 to 1. In Japan, five iPhone 5S was sold against 1 iPhone 5C. In Australia, the iPhone 5S outsold the iPhone 5C by 11 to 1 margin.
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