Some say that the Apple iPhone is a bit like marmite – you either love it or hate it. But from the look of this weekend’s sales Apple surely must be feeling the love, as they’ve managed to clock up more than 5 million unit sales in just 3 days.
This is all quite incredible given that reports were already emerging about the embarrassing faux pas in their latest Maps software. This howling blunder meant that towns such as Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birth place) completely vanished, and Berlin apparently relocated to Antarctica. The London Underground even helpfully advised all iOS 6 users to pick up a free local areas map from the booking office, after it transpired that London was now in Canada, Paddington station was non-existent, and some buildings were popping up in rivers!
Apple’s latest maps software is part of the iOS 6 upgrade and was rolled out as a replacement to Google Maps in the Apple versus Android war. Nevertheless, the maps debacle doesn’t seem to have dampened demand and more than 100 million devices have been updated with iOS 6 worldwide.
An Apple spokesman responded to criticism by stating that “these were just teething problems, and the new app will be developed with the help of customer feedback”. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was delighted with the sales figures and claimed “Demand for the iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one”.
Sales of 5 million units represented a 20% increase on the iPhone 4S in its first weekend last October, when it recorded 4 million units sold. Even pre-orders were double the number its predecessor managed, at 2 million devices in the initial 24 hours.
Even so, that hasn’t stopped some analysts from being disappointed, with Piper Jaffrey previously predicting that at least 6 million iPhone 5’s would be shifted over the launch weekend. Jaffrey also quoted that 73% of people who bought the iPhone 4S were upgrading from an older version, but 83% of those purchasing an iPhone 5 were also upgrading from an older iPhone. So it would appear that Apple is struggling a little bit more than before to convert staunch Android fans.
For the moment only lucky residents in the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, can get their hands on one. However, from September 28th it will be available in 22 more countries. But by the end of 2012 the iPhone 5 is expected to be available in over 100 countries worldwide.
So in spite of the cartographical cock-up, the iPhone 5 appears to have made an impressive start. It still has a long way to go to catch up with the 20 million or so sales racked up by the Samsung Galaxy S3, but if what we’ve seen so far is anything to go by, we reckon it Apple will again give Samsung a run for their money.
What do you think? Did you snap up an iPhone 5, or are you still undecided?