Analyst Says Perhaps Millions of iPhone 5 Pre-Orders Still in Transit, Not Included in Announced Sales

iphone 5 boxEarlier today, Apple officially announced sales of over five million iPhone 5 units during its launch weekend, easily topping the iPhone 4S debut from last year but falling short of many analysts' expectations.

ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall theorizes that the apparent shortfall compared to expectations may stem from Apple's rapid sellout of its own launch day pre-orders, which occurred in just about an hour. Apple announced two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours of availability, a figure that was used by analysts to predict blockbuster opening weekend sales of 6-10 million units.

Marshall notes that many of those first-day pre-orders, as well as ones made after that date, have yet to be delivered, and thus Apple can not yet count them as sold. A brief "clarification" from Marshall reads:

[R]ecall the 5mil+ iPhone 5 reported sales only takes into consideration: 1) what was sold into partners (e.g., retail outlets, carriers, etc.), 2) sold in AAPL retail stores, and 3) direct to customers only if they signed for the device. Importantly, this doesn't take into consideration units in delivery direct to customers (i.e., AAPL must have signature of acceptance by customer before it is counted as a sale) and we estimate units in transit could be in the millions currently.

Some of those "late" iPhone 5 pre-orders through Apple that had been quoted delivery in early October have already begun shipping with estimated delivery dates of September 27. Those units will not, however, be counted as sales by Apple until they are delivered.

Update 7:13 AM: Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who was responsible for the widely cited 6-10 million unit estimate, has released his own note expressing similar sentiments. He believes that up to a million iPhone 5 pre-orders remain in transit and notes that in-store supply was tighter for the iPhone 5 than for the iPhone 4S, holding back iPhone 5 sales numbers.

We believe there are two factors that negatively impacted the number. First, our sales expectation assumed that Apple would include all phones pre-ordered online. We believe that this may have been up to 1 million additional units as units pre-ordered after the middle of the first day were projected to be available in October. Second, we noted 1.25 days of Apple Retail inventory compared to 2.5 days during the 4S launch. Our 8 million estimate assumed full weekend availability and the counting of all online pre-orders. We believe that if supply were not a constraint and Apple included all pre-orders, the launch weekend number would have been closer to 7-8 million, assuming ~1 million October pre-order sales and an additional 1-2 million units at retail.

Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

striker33 Avatar
131 months ago
Hi. I'm an analyst. My initial figures were completely wrong, and as such, I am now correcting my initial prediction with a prediction.

I love being paid to tell lies.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reddmanz Avatar
131 months ago
Interesting they aren't trying to claim these units in the announcement. I bet a few other companies might...
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
edry.hilario Avatar
131 months ago
please lets move on to something else now
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zunjine Avatar
131 months ago
please lets move on to something else now

Who's stopping you? ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
0038396 Avatar
131 months ago
It's funny how Apple only counts devices as sold if they are in customers' hands, while its competitors count "shipped" devices, as in those rotting on the shelves.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bbplayer5 Avatar
131 months ago
Android fanboy or not, this is impressive. Glad my iPhone 5 only had 2 tiny blemishes... Sharpie fixed them right up.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
AirPods Max 2022 Colors

Ten Things AirPods Pro 2 Tell Us About AirPods Max 2

Saturday September 24, 2022 1:00 am PDT by
Upon the release of the second-generation AirPods Pro, the AirPods Max became the oldest current-generation AirPods product still in Apple's lineup. Introducing several new features like Adaptive Transparency and the H2 chip, the second-generation AirPods Pro may provide some of the best indications yet of what to expect from the second-generation AirPods Max. Almost two years later, rumors...
tim cook spring loaded event

Six Major Products to Expect From Apple in 2023

Sunday September 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
As we approach the end of a busy product release season for Apple with only new iPads and Macs left to be announced over the next month or so, we're also setting our sights on 2023. Apple is rumored to have several major products in the pipeline for next year, including new Macs, a new HomePod, a VR/AR headset, and so much more. Other than new iPhones and Apple Watches, which are expected...
Tim Cook Apple Event

Gurman: New iPads and Macs May Be Announced Through Press Releases, No October Event

Sunday September 25, 2022 6:50 am PDT by
Apple may decide to release its remaining products for 2022, which include updated iPad Pro, Mac mini, and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, through press releases on its website rather than a digital event, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that Apple is currently "likely to release its remaining 2022 products via press releases,...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Don't Want the Apple Watch Ultra or Series 8? Amazon Has Record Low Prices on Series 7 Models This Week

Friday September 23, 2022 6:56 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are now available to purchase, but if you aren't interested in these updates you can save a lot of money on Series 7 models right now on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. The best deals are on cellular...
iphone 14 pro max deep purple

iPhone 15 'Ultra' Could Replace Pro Max Model Next Year

Sunday September 25, 2022 7:02 am PDT by
Apple is gearing up to possibly replace its "Pro Max" iPhone with an all-new "Ultra" iPhone 15 model next year, reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today. Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that for the iPhone 15, Apple is planning a revamped design alongside USB-C and a potential name change. Apple could replace its "Pro Max" branding, which it started to use...
AirPods Pro Second Generation 2 Pairing Feature 1

AirPods Pro 2 Engravings Appear in iOS During Pairing and Connecting

Friday September 23, 2022 9:40 am PDT by
Customers who personalize their second-generation AirPods Pro charging case with an engraving will now have that engraving reflected directly on iOS as they pair and connect their AirPods Pro. Apple allows customers to personalize their AirPods Pro charging case with a special engraving that can include select emojis and Memojis. Unlike before, starting with the second-generation AirPods...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

New 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pros Reportedly Launching Later This Year

Friday September 23, 2022 7:08 am PDT by
Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro models in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report does not mention specific models, but it very likely refers to the next-generation 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros given that the 13-inch model was already updated earlier this year. There has been uncertainty surrounding the timing of new 14-inch and...