iPhone 4S sales defy predictions

18 Oct 2011

Famed UK motoring journalist Jeremy Clarkson once commented that every prediction he made turned out to be wrong.

I know, now, how he feels, given that Apple has just reported sales of its iPhone 4S topped four million over the weekend. That’s 2.3 million higher than the first three days of iPhone 4 sales, and considerably higher than I predicted a fortnight ago when I noted current users have little incentive to upgrade to the latest model.

Just to put the numbers into context, Apple shipped in one weekend around half the number of devices Sony Ericsson shipped in the entire third quarter.

Some reports credit the death of Steve Jobs with fuelling sales, as Apple’s faithful rush out to buy the last product he had a hand in developing (though counter-claims suggest Jobs shunned this model to focus on the next device). Others note there is pent up demand among iPhone users, who have had to wait longer for this model than previous versions.

Fred Huet, boss of Greenwich Consulting, offers a more practical analysis, noting that the sales demonstrate Apple’s power in the mobile market. “The company has a solid user base and with wide distribution,” he states, referring to the vendor’s deals with major US and European telcos.

Apple also revealed its latest operating system – iOS 5 – is already being used by 25 million people since it was made available on October 12, and its newly launched iCloud service has attracted 20 million.

The vendor is due to reveal its earnings for its fiscal 4Q11 – calendar 3Q – later today. Dare I predict anything other than another rip-roaring success?

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