You may have seen an article on Brighthand yesterday on the Apple iPhone outselling all Android-based smartphones combined in the U.S. last quarter. While I’m sure this is causing lots of backslapping at Apple, I don’t think it was a good thing for the company to repeat.
This huge surge in sales was brought about primarily by the iPhone 4S being launched in Q4. It will probably happen again if Apple waits until this fall to introduce the iPhone 5. As I said, I think this is a bad idea.
Using the iPhone release schedule Apple followed before 2011, the company enjoyed two surges in smartphone sales each year: one immediately after launch and another half a year later when the holiday shopping season rolled around. This gave Apple time to build some inventory back up for the holidays after the initial burst of post-debut sales.
However, under the schedule Apple adopted last year, the company launched the iPhone 4S and almost immediately had to have another huge number of units ready for holiday sales. I’d be willing to bet half of all the iPhone 4S units that will be sold in its first year went in a single quarter.
Under both schedules, the total number of devices sold are about the same, but there’s less of a one-time strain on the supply chain if the new model comes out in the summer.
Preparing for Problems
Also, suppose a problem cropped up with the new iPhone… like Anntennagate? If the device launches in the summer, Apple has some time to fix it before the holiday rush. If the iPhone 4 had debuted on the same schedule as the iPhone 4S, then the controversy over the “death grip” issue would have been in full swing when people were deciding which smartphone to give as Christmas/Hanukkah gifts.
We got a taste of this with the latest model. The iPhone 4S had very poor battery life at launch, and Apple had to very, very quickly get a software patch out before it affected holiday sales.
While I’m sure people who received the iPhone 4S as a gift this December were happy that they were getting a smartphone that had been on the market a relatively short time, there are other groups who are being left out in the cold.
Under Apple’s previous schedule, plenty of students went off to college with new iPhones. I’m curious how many graduates will be putting Apple’s 8 month-old smartphone on their wish list this June. Especially when you consider that there will be lots of hot new Android smartphones released just before then. The current schedule ignores the whole “Mom’s, Dad’s, and Grad’s” season, as well as the “Back to School” shopping season.
And one more advantage: Apple was the only company who introduced its smartphones in June – July. This made it the center of attention during those months. When the iPhone 4S was coming out in October, it had to compete for attention with new models from all Apple’s competitors.
Add all this up, and it just makes more sense to me that the iPhone 5 should come out this summer. Here’s hoping it makes equal sense to Apple.
Related Articles on Brighthand:
- Apple iPhone Outsold Android Last Quarter in the U.S.
- Apple iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II: Which Is the Greatest?