2 Million iPhones Preordered in 24 Hours

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 17 2012 8:57 AM

Apple Garners 2 Million Preorders for "Disappointing" iPhone 5 in 24 Hours

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A notice providing information on ordering the iPhone 5 is displayed at a Tokyo electrics shop on Thursday

Photo by Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images.

The fact that the iPhone 5 didn't contain a new industrial design concept and instead only increased processor power and screen size while reducing device weight and increasing battery life* while upgrading network speed prompted a fair amount of commentary about the slowing pace of innovation at Apple. But it seems about 2 million devices were preordered within 24 hours, and now even if you preorder, you can't actually get on on launch day.

The iPhone 4S, which, as I recall, was also "disappointing," got about 1 million preorders, which itself was a record. So clearly they're doing something right. I think what you'd actually see is that a lack of technical innovation is what would induce a change in industrial design as a way to artificially gin up excitement. The new iPod Nano seems to me to be in that spirit. It's a declining product in a declining market segment that they couldn't come up with any interesting new ideas for, so it got a basically arbitrary new design because—hey—why not?

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* Correction, Sept. 17, 2012: The initial version of this item omitted the word "increasing" when describing the change to iPhone 5's battery life.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.