Last Weekend Was Apple's Most Successful Product Launch of All Time  

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 23 2013 12:54 PM

5S/5C Is Apple's Most Successful Product Launch Ever

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Apple announced today that it sold 9 million iPhone 5S and 5C models over the weekend, which is a huge increase from the 5 million iPhone 5 models they sold a year ago. One big difference, however, is that the iPhone 5 wasn't available in China on launch day and the iPhone 5S and 5C are. But Horace Dediu has the charts that show that this isn't the whole story—even if you add the iPhone 5's China sales into the mix, Apple still blew the old launch out of the water.

I wonder if supply chain improvements aren't the real hero here. I went to a friendly local Apple Store yesterday out of curiosity and was a bit shocked to see that they were not out of either model of phone. That prepared me for some kind of unprecedented iPhone sales disaster. But it's clear from the 9 million number that there was no sales disaster. Rather, the company seems to have done a much better job of ramping up production and shipping units to stores. Who knows how many people went to a store looking for an iPhone 5 a year ago only to be turned away because they were out of stock? This logistics side of the electronics game is not the sexiest or most written-about side of the industry, but it is Tim Cook's specialty, and perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to see Apple hitting it out of the park.

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