Oh Yeah, Apple Already Beat Samsung Last Year
July 6, 2013

Oh Yeah, Apple Already Beat Samsung Last Year

Just two days after Korean news source Yonhap News did a solid for Samsung by telling the world they’ve shipped more than 20 million Galaxy S4s (and only a few weeks after analysts began predicting a slowing of demand for the same phone), one analyst group says the iPhone 5 has been winning the entire time.

According to these guys, it only took Apple 25 days to reach 20 million iPhone 5s sold.

It’s all a matter of estimation, pure and simple, no matter how accurate any of the reports may seem.

But just because some calculator-yielding analysts make some well-informed assumptions doesn’t mean we can’t talk about them like they’re 100 percent fact, right?

On Tuesday Yonhap News claimed the new S4 is going gangbusters, shipping at 1.7 times the speed of its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. But how can this be? After all, even though the S4 is still a “new” device even by today’s quickening standards, reports came in at the beginning of June that demand had already slowed for the latest Galaxy smartphone, and this was just less than three months after the thing became available.

Had all those who ever wanted one of these new phones already purchased one, had performed their Samsung fanatic duties and slapped some cash down on the retail table as soon as they could?

Friday, analysts from ISI (or International Strategy and Investment Group, LLC) released a report full of best guesses and back-of-the-envelope calculations saying that even if the Galaxy S4 is doing well, (JP Morgan be damned) it’s still not selling as well as the iPhone 5.

And that’s without getting into the sticky conversation of “shipped vs sold.”

There’s no other way for ISI (or anyone) to accurately make these kinds of statements, of course. Apple rarely announces sales numbers about specific devices. Rather, you’ll get specific numbers from them depending on the season. Did the latest iPhone release last weekend? You’ll probably see specific numbers.

(Ah, but astute readers will remember Apple’s announcement following opening weekend for the iPad mini. They note they sold three million iPads, but didn’t say how many of which kind. Don’t forget, an iPad mini is still an iPad as far as Apple is concerned.)

Is it the end of a quarter? You’ll get broad sales numbers from Apple, such as “we sold 48 million iPhones.”

Again, they now sell three different kinds of iPhones, and there’s no way of knowing just how many of each they sold.

Teasing apart the information they have (five million iPhone 5s in opening weekend sales, 48 million total phones sold by December), ISI estimates it only took Cook and Crew about 25 days to reach 20 million sales of the iPhone 5.

It took Samsung two whole months.

There are a few interesting things to point out about this entire mess.

First, it’s still curious that shipments of the S4 seem so strong, while reports claim demand is so weak. To my knowledge (and I know you’ll correct me if I’m wrong), there is no other smartphone, save the iPhone 5, which is selling as well as the S4. Yet even with relative strong sales, there are some who say the world is almost done with the thing. I’m postulating, of course.

It’s also curious that ISI felt the need to go through all that work just to estimate something that no one could ever prove or disprove.

Ah, but it is the work of an analyst to get people excited about certain stocks in hopes they’ll invest with you, is it not?

It is easier, however, to say that demand for the iPhone 5 has likely slowed considerably since earlier this year when the markets thought the device had already burned through its demand. After all, we’re almost certainly less than three months away from a new iPhone, and those that want the new hotness are probably going to wait.

The S4 is still new, still garnering attention, still being pushed by some of the weirdest ads ever created.

Perhaps we can revisit this entire conversation this fall when the shoe is on the proverbial other foot?

Image Credit: Aidar / Shutterstock

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