May 14, 2012
Apple stockholders and fans alike, you've been warned. Between now and Apple's announcement of the next iPhone, financial "experts" will be making you wonder whether the sky is about to fall on the Cupertino, California company. Don't worry as this talk happens each year. And in the long run, it means absolutely nothing. According to a new report from iDownload Blog, so-called experts are getting nervous about all the “iPhone 5” rumors and how they could slow sales of existing iPhones. The reason being, the more the next iPhone is discussed, the less likely consumers will buy the current model, the iPhone 4S. Because of this, most are worried about Apple’s second quarter sales, which will be announced on July 24.
HistoryShould Apple be worried? Let’s look at the history of iPhone sales in the two quarters preceding a new iPhone launch, noting that Apple’s final quarter of each year is July through September. Also note that from 2008 until 2010, the new iPhone arrived in June. The iPhone 4S went on sale in October of last year. In 2008, iPhone sales dropped in the third quarter from 2.315 million units to 0.717 million units. In total, sales dropped 69 percent. In 2009, sales increased 19 percent (4.363 million units to 5.208 million units.) In 2010, sales decreased again, from 8.737 million to 8.398 million units, or a drop of 4 percent. Finally, in 2011, sales dropped to 17.07 million from 18.65 million units, or 8 percent. In other words, if history is any guide, iPhone sales will almost certainly drop this quarter and next, assuming the sixth-generation iPhone arrives in October. While analysts worry, Apple seems to be taking the reality in stride. As Tim Cook said last year:
“iPhone sales slowed toward the end of the quarter amid speculation over the debut of a new model.”Short of Apple announcing new iPhones at different times each year, these sales drops are inevitable. Whether you can blame them on rumors alone is stretching the point. After all, after five models, would-be buyers more-or-less know when another model is arriving, whether or not they've heard the rumors. Most likely, Apple (and most investors) will worry more about iPhone sales in the first quarter a new model is available. And in four previous years, these numbers have never disappointed. In 2008, Apple saw gains of 861 percent. In 2009, that number was 41 percent; in 2010, 68 percent. Finally, in 2011, iPhone sales gained 117 percent. In other words, don't be concerned with what the “experts” think. Are you holding off purchasing a new iPhone until the new model is released? Which model do you have now? -- (Photo: iPhone 4S lines, Christian Science Monitor)