Much like past iPhone launches, Apple is reporting a sales record with its iPhone 5. Apple on Monday announced pre-orders of its iPhone 5 topped 2 million in just 24 hours. That pace more than doubles Apple's old record of 1 million pre-orders in 24 hours. The iPhone 4S held that honor.
AT&T is also reporting sales records with the iPhone 5 over the weekend, making it the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered. Although AT&T didn't offer specific numbers, it said customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T than any previous model both on its first day of pre-orders and over the weekend.
Of course, with high demand comes constrained supply. Also much like past iPhone launches, Apple is reporting that demand for the iPhone 5 is exceeding its initial supply. Practically speaking that means that although most of the pre-orders will arrive in consumers' hands on the official Sept. 21 launch date, many won't arrive until October.
"iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Schiller is not surprised. He said the iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet. He called it the "most beautiful product we've ever made."
Revolutionary or Evolutionary?
Schiller's comments are subjective, but what is certain is that the iPhone 5 is a major upgrade from previous versions. First, it's the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever and it's been completely redesigned to feature a 4-inch Retina display, an Apple-designed A6 chip for fast performance, 4G LTE wireless technology, and better battery life than its predecessors.
Specs-wise, the iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, which itself features more than 200 new user features. Those features include an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an impressive new Flyover view; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar with the ability to post directly from Notification Center; and new Siri features, like restaurant recommendations and movie listings.
We caught up with Michael Disabato, vice president of network and telecom at Gartner, to get his take on the iPhone 5 and its early success. He told us the phone is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, especially in regard to the enterprise.
"I was looking for more improvement in enterprise management issues and we didn't get that," Disabato said. "The iPhone 5 is something Apple needs to do to keep pace with its competitors, but I will be anxious to see if there are any real quantitative improvements when they bring out the next version."
Disabato did point to two issues worth noting: the revised dock connector and the lack of near-field communication technology that would have enabled mobile wallets. He sees the revised dock connector as interesting because it reportedly contains electronics that help prevent jail-breaking. As for the lack of NFC, Disabato called it a chicken-and-egg scenario that Apple wasn't yet ready to get behind.
"Apple didn't put in NFC because the technology is not well adopted yet, but until you get the handsets in the market you are not going to be able to use it in retail and retailers won't get on board until consumers have the handsets," Disabato said. "Somebody's got to pull the trigger on this and it looks like the Android phones are making the big commitment.
"I don't think it will hurt Apple. Obviously, they continue to break records."