IPhone 5: China sets new sales record, buyers snap up 2M units in first weekend

It isn’t all roses at Apple these days. Ever since Steve Jobs passed away a year ago this past October, naysayers have been just waiting, circling like vultures in the desert, looking for the time when the company would eventually stumble. I mean, you can’t stay on top forever, right?

(Well, okay, they did that even before Jobs’ death, but not as much.)

So, with every release of sales figures and every drop in Apple’s stock prices, there are those pointing fingers of doom and gloom, convinced the end is nigh for the tech giant.

An example came with the release of the third quarter sales figures. The company reported a $35 billion profit, which for most would be a reason for a huge celebration.

Well, not when analysts predicted that you’d have a $37.2 billion profit. Horrors!

Of course, the stock price plummeted after the news, down $34 (or nearly 6%) to $556.78. Yes, folks, that’s the price per share.

(Which just proves that Lieutenant Dan knew what he was doing with his investment strategy.)

Now let’s move ahead to the iPhone 5’s release in the China market. It’s been well documented how well Apple’s products do there, so the speculation that the iPhone would receive a lukewarm reception was somewhat curious, based on its success elsewhere.

From a recent PCMag.com article by Adario Strange:

According to a Reuters report, analyst Peter Misek surprised some market watchers by estimating lower China sales due to a supposed cut in supplier orders. The report went on to quote UBS analyst Steven Milunovich, who wrote, “some of our Chinese sources do not expect the iPhone 5 to do as well as the iPhone 4S.”

Those concerns surrounding a possible dip in the device’s popularity were heightened on Friday when, instead of massive crowds and near riot conditions at Apple’s China outlets in Beijing and Shanghai, activity was mostly normal. What the analysts apparently failed to account for were pre-orders made online by Chinese consumers hoping to avoid the usual chaotic crush at the brick and mortar stores. In the wake of chaotic scenes at previous Chinese Apple launches, meanwhile, Apple implemented a reservation system for those who wanted to buy their new iPhone in stores.

So, appearances can be deceiving. SOMEone bought all those iPhones, right?

Apple’s official statement:

BEIJING—December 17, 2012—Apple® today announced it has sold over two million of its new iPhone® 5 in China, just three days after its launch on December 14. iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever.“Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “China is a very important market for us and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products.”

(Here’s what analysts said after the record 2 million sales weekend.)

As for the “disappointing” third quarter earnings report: Apple had released little in the way of new product in that quarter. It’s now apparent that most consumers were anticipating the announcement of a new iPhone in the fall, which caused a drop in the current device’s sales.

When the iPhone 5 was announced in September it sold 5 million units in three days–another record, in that it surpassed last year’s iPhone 4S launch. It would have sold even more if Apple had a bigger supply in its inventory.

So much for speculation.

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