That's how many phones
) moved this weekend, courtesy of the enormous buzz around the new
iPhone 5S, which debuted on Friday to rave reviews.
That's a huge improvement over the 2012 iPhone 5 launch, which saw
opening weekend sales of 5 million.
It also easily eclipsed Wall Street estimates, which topped out
around the 8 million mark.
Apple said that fiscal fourth-quarter (ending in September)
revenues would come in at the high end of its $34 billion - $37
billion guidance range, which implies a beat of the $36.1 billion
consensus. The company also said that gross margins would come at
the high end of its expected 36% - 37% range.
The importance of this victory can't be overstated.
First, after a string of disappointments, Apple finally seems to
have rebuilt momentum in its iPhone business. Last quarter, the
company delivered a big upside surprise in iPhone units, moving 31
million units vs. Street expectations in the 26 million - 27
million range. So this makes two straight quarters of happy iPhones
news in a row, which could result in
rising global smartphone market share
which could serve as a very effective psychological fulcrum for the
Additionally, while the smartphone space as a whole is suffering
from pricing pressures, Apple is doing an okay job of holding the
line on margins.
And it now appears that the company will mark a second straight
quarter of better-than-expected iPhone sales, particularly since
the 5S was supply-constrained over the weekend.
The Competition Is Hurting
Recall that times are tough in the
) Android market place. Unit sales growth is enormous, but
(TPE:2498), and Motorola are all
suffering from extreme competitive pressures
, which is dragging down profitability across the board.
And just on Friday,
) announced an unfortunate turn in its smartphone business: The
company stated that second-quarter sales would come in at just $1.6
billion vs. a consensus forecast of $3 billion.
) Windows Phone is technically the fastest-growing OS from a units
perspective, it is still
a blip on the radar in terms of market share
, and that growth could be hampered near-term by revived interest
in the iPhone.
Apple is soaring higher today as this quarter's results are in the
bag, making the actual report something of a non-event.
However, keep a lookout for iPad sales numbers. Last quarter -- the
same quarter that saw the iPhone resurgence -- was a bit of a
stinker for the iPad as unit sales fell by 14%.
The iPad, while a smaller contributor to Apple's revenues than the
iPhone (18% vs. 51%), is still vital from a strategic point of
view. It is destroying the traditional Windows-centric PC industry
from the inside out while giving Apple a bigger foothold within
corporate IT environments. I suspect that an awful lot of PCs will
be replaced with iPads and docking stations.
The Final Lesson
When people irrationally wait on line all night or even all week
for a product, it's usually a sign of good things to come.
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Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville
Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.