Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Sep 2013 10:38 UTC

I've been thinking a bit more about those iPhone 5C/5S weekend sales figures, and while it is certainly impressive, if you compare it to the iPhone 5's first weekend sales figures, it's actually quite a step backwards for Apple. The issue here - something many sites and even Apple itself doesn't want to focus on - is that the iPhone 5C/5S is available to a lot more people than the iPhone 5 was.

The iPhone 5 was available to 720 million people at launch, and sold 5 million units. This is a penetration of 0.69%. The iPhone 5C and 5S, however, are available to 2078 million people, and sold 9 million units, which constitutes a penetration of 0.43%. So, Apple has two new models to advertise and lure consumers with instead of one, and has a huge additional market (China) to address, yet it failed to capitalise on either of these two factors.

What this shows is that while the sales figure is still pretty darn impressive, it's not nearly as groundbreaking if you put it in perspective. Looking at it this way, the so-called record breaking 9 million figure can easily be explained away by Apple almost tripling its launch weekend audience, instead of an increasing popularity of the iPhone.

The only reason I'm writing this is to illustrate how numbers are entirely arbitrary, and it's easy to make silly comparisons and claim an arbitrary victory - or, change perspective a bit and claim arbitrary defeat, as I've done here.

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by Adam S on Thu 26th Sep 2013 15:36 UTC
Adam S
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Really? I don't think you can make the results look however you want. You can, when you present meaningless numbers. But the fact is "penetration" is a nonsense number. It's foolish to invent those numbers, and the proof is that no one examines that statistic when you measure "success."

Apple depleted their inventory of one model of new phone. The second model inarguably sold well (how well is a mystery, and frankly, irrelevant, because the profits will speak for themselves at the next earnings call). Those are facts. Raw units shipped. Profit margin. Ability to restock inventory rapidly. All facts.

The other invented measures of success don't actually *tell* you anything. You can make your point, but that doesn't make your point valid. And that's the flaw here, pretending that you can use these numbers you claim can illustrate anything to actually convince anyone of anything.

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