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Analysts Query "9M" iPhone Sales, Hit By Samsung 'Cred'

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 23/09/2013

Apple say they have broken records with sales of 5s and 5c, but telco sources, analysts say it isn't so.

A hyped up Apple said it sold a "record-breaking" nine million iPhone 5s and 5c's on the first weekend of sale, outstripping iPhone 4 and 5.

The new (but not anything new) iPhones went on sale in ten major markets consecutively for the first time, including China, US and Hong Kong, which explains why sales were so high, analysts believe.

China is Apple biggest market outside the US.

The release of two models consecutively also pushed up demand although sales of the plastic 5c are believed to be tame compared to high spec 5s. 

US analyst, Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray believes Apple has fudged the sales figures, attributing the 9 million figure to "channel fill" (of iPhone 5c in particular), instead of "sell through" and the "benefit of China", he told Bloomberg TV. 

He believes "the real number was closer to 5.5 million."

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO said "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."  

"Demand is not as strong as usual" for iPhone 5s or 5c, a source from a major Australian telco told Smarthouse.

"There's a lot of {non Apple} options, the Samsung Galaxy is getting a lot of credibility," the source said. "Consumers are a bit over the iPhone craziness".

The "colourful" Apple has "battled" against 5s with a new fingerprint sensor, as there's little price difference between the plastic 5c and the higher spec 5s, the source added. 

"iPhone 5s is a better phone, so consumers feel they may as well pay a little bit more".  

iPhone 5s starts at A$869, while 5c starts at $739 for 16GB model. 

iPhone 5s in 'gold' is the most sought-after colour, according to the telco source, but has yet to arrive in Oz. 

Earlier last week, Smarthouse was told by another telco exec that the latest iPhone pre orders were less than stellar. 

In a filing dated September 23, Apple upgraded its earnings forecast, and now expects total company revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter to be near the high end of the previously provided range of $34 bn - $37 bn, and expects gross margin to be near the high end of 36% - 37% range. 

Shares buoyed to $492.75 up 4.97% in the US, yesterday. 

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