Apple managed to sell nine million iPhones over the weekend, with the company claiming its initial supply of high-end iPhone 5S units completely sold out.
“This is our best iPhone launch yet—more than nine million new iPhones sold—a new record for first weekend sales,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a statement. “The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly.”
Apple didn’t sell out of the new iPhone 5C, its plastic-cased (and cheaper) alternative to the iPhone 5S; models are still available for shipment within 24 hours from Apple’s online store. And the iPhone 5S selling out is no surprise: in the weeks ahead of the new iPhones’ launch, rumors persisted that the initial production run of the device was relatively small in scope, which would make it far easier for Apple to sell out of its first batch.
So how many iPhone 5C units did Apple actually manage to sell? In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that Apple would produce just over 5 million iPhone 5S units ahead of the device’s launch weekend; if that number’s accurate, and Apple sold every single one, it would mean Apple sold roughly 4 million iPhone 5C units in order to reach that 9-million-sold figure for both models.
That’s an impressive figure for any smartphone, of course, and it could quiet some of the naysayers who have spent the past several months suggesting that Apple’s best years are behind it. (Heading into the weekend, analysts such as Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster estimated that Apple would sell between 5-6 million new iPhones.) Wall Street rewarded Apple’s stock on Monday morning, sending it up four percent in early trading.
The question now is what Apple could do for an encore. Will it release the long-rumored Apple television or “iWatch”? Or will the next several months see only updates to longstanding products such as the iPod and iPad? For all its success in its well-established segments, Apple knows that it needs to break into new markets if it wants to keep its revenue and profits at enviable levels, and Wall Street happy.