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Did the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Break Meaningful Records?

Apple announced today that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have broken new records. The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have shattered previous iPhone launches when it comes to first-day pre-orders. The latest iPhone models have generated 4 million pre-sales.

That’s a lot for just a 24-hour period.

Sadly, Apple may be misguiding everyone. Let’s start by taking a trip back in time. We’ll start with the iPhone 5. During the first 24 hours, the iPhone 5 generated over 2 million in pre-sales. Naturally, the iPhone 5 shattered all iPhones that came before it. Next to arrive on the scene was the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. With the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, Apple never released 24 hour pre-sales numbers. Instead, Apple announced the amount of pre-sales made over a three-day period.

Interestingly enough, an analyst suggested that pre-orders for the iPhone 5C came in around 2.2 million. Still, that’s a great number.

Moving to this year’s iPhone launch, Apple has only announced the pre-order numbers within the first 24 hours. As previously mentioned, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus combined for a total of 4 million in pre-order sales.

Here’s where it becomes less meaningful:

Since Apple isn’t telling us how much each device pre-sold within the 24-hour period, we have to operate under the following scenarios:

Scenario 1: iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Sold 2 Million Each

It’s unlikely that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus met equal demand. But if this were the case, it would hurt Apple’s marketing scheme. Apple would no longer be able to claim that their devices broke individual records. With concrete evidence that the iPhone 5 sold 2 million, it would suggest that Apple’s pre-sale numbers have capped. It would paint an ugly picture for Apple detailing that their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus only pre-sold as much as their 2-year-old iPhone 5.

Scenario 2: Either the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus Sold More than the Other

Under this scenario, only one of Apple’s latest iPhone 6 devices will be a record breaker. At least, when it comes to pre-sales within 24 hours. Assuming the iPhone 6 sold 3 million units and the iPhone 6 Plus sold 1 million units during the first 24 hours of pre-sales, Apple can only claim that one of their iPhones broke records. This would suggest that the other iPhone isn’t in high demand. Whether that would be true or false isn’t the argument, only that it would suggest that it is so.

I’d like to point out how Apple announced 5S and 5C pre-sale again. Be aware, what comes next is merely logical speculation. Apple announced the three-day pre-order numbers for the 5S and 5C three days after they started taking pre-orders. Apple announced the 24 hour pre-order numbers for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus three days after they started taking pre-orders.

What this suggest to me is that Apple made the choice not to compare their latest iPhone pre-sale numbers to last year pre-sale numbers using the same time frame because it wouldn’t show as powerful of a message. It’s very likely that the new iPhones did not perform as well as last year’s iPhone 5S and 5C. Especially if the predictions of 5C 24-hour sales were right. That’s because we know the iPhone 5S outsold the 5C. Because of how math works, 2.2 million 5C sales + greater than 2.2 million 5S sales equals greater than 4.4 million iPhone sales within the first 24 hours. Again, this is speculation based on analysis.

Counter Argument

I can already hear the counter argument. I’ll try to satisfy them here and now. One could easily dismiss my entire argument by claiming that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus should be considered variations of the same phone. If you are prepared to make that argument, you must also accept that this should be true for all competitors.

That would mean we have to consider all 20 variations of Galaxy phones to be one model. If you chose this argument, then Samsung outsold the iPhone in 2013. Pick your poison.

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