Why did iPhone 5 sales hit 2 million in 24 hours?? A brand based viewpoint!

Posted: September 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
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So iPhone 5 has generated a record 2 million units of pre-orders within 24 hours, and which is nearly twice the quantity that was received for iPhone 4S. Apple shares climbed up beyond the $700 mark, and the company continues to get more and more valuable.

Image courtesy The Business Insider

And yet, when you see some of the reports and reviews that came up, after the iPhone 5 was revealed, it would have seemed like the iPhone 5 was not such a big deal after all! The Android and Samsung fans were particularly rejoicing as they felt that the iPhone was finally losing its way now. They saw a lot of joy in the bold Samsung ad with a feature by feature comparison that showed how Samsung would make a smarter choice.

Coming as it did after the US court judgement against Samsung, this seemed like a great challenge back to the “evil iPhone system”!

Many Android fans created their own versions of the ads, and included a price comparison as well.

You’d think that the iPhone has finally met it’s match, and will, for the first time, see a decline in sales.

Yet, surprise, surprise!

Where the iPhone 4S (which did not generate so much of “disappointment press” as the iphone 5 did) had clocked about 1 mn units of pre-orders in 24 hours, the new one went past the 2 mn mark!!

And riding on top of that news, the Apple stock blew past the $700 mark. And the company continued to get more valuable and sexier for investors.

And something else continued to happen.

The something else that I believe, is the core essence to the story here.

The BRANDS iPhone and Apple became more and more aspirational! More coveted.

“2 million people made it to that 24 hours list, but I didn’t! I have to be the most miserable person on earth..!”  would be the feeling for many who could not get a piece of the iPhone 5.

Let’s understand and appreciate that lifestyle products are not bought with a clinical eye on features.

When I sit in a Mercedes car, I do not feel “much” different. If I have to have a purely rational view about it, I would wonder why anyone should pay the 3-4 multiple of the price over a VW that I drive? It is not really that special!

And yet, what do people earn a lot of money for? So that they may go and buy a Mercedes some day (#justsaying).

We know when we started bootstrapping Social Wavelength, we went and bought regular Windows laptops and managed our work. But in a few months, when business picked up, and we had some cash flows to spare, we went and purchased the more expensive MacBooks, and felt good about it. That is what we had earned for. That we could not get the sexier Apple machines!

So’s the case with the iPhone.

You can’t replace a Harley Davidson by just building a ‘better bike’. These are not mere products, these are iconic brands. They have delivered happiness over the years. And it will take a lot to displace their stature.

I am not a mobile phone reviewer. I don’t get the nitty gritty of comparisons here. I have never used a Samsung phone ever. But I have no reason to leave my iPhone. It gives me sheer delight. Why should I consider migration? I migrated out of Windows machines, as there WERE pain points! Not here. Not in the Apple family of products.

When I was in the Bay area in June this year, I must have taken the 1 hour Caltrain ride to San Francisco, about 10 times at least. And I could see nearly 80% of the passengers busy with their mobile devices. And the most common devices visible out there, were the iPhone and the iPad. And the passengers were not necessarily folks who had sold their startups for a lot of money!! These were people doing jobs in the city, or students, and such.

Clearly the device to own, was one of those Apple ones – the iPad or the iPhone. And those are the kind of folks, contributing to the folklore of Apple. And which explains this phenomenal surge or pre-orders and the sky rocketing stock price of Apple.

I have seen enough of the tech world to know that nothing is permanent, and there will be a change of guard at some time. It may take a bad move from Apple to shoot itself in the foot, or some other inflexion point to knock them off their pedestal. However, none of those events are visible in the horizon.

Till then, Apple continues to rock on.. !!

  1. At the outset, I am not an iPhone user rather use a Samsung. Have been a die hard google fan all along and have been hooked on to Android. But couldn’t agree more that Apple rocks when it comes to marketing. They command a premium no doubt just for the name and brand. In a country like ours honestly, we need open phones and not the locked ones like in the US. But all said and done they rock. And after the iconic Steve Jobs’ demise, there is more of a wave towards Apple.

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