Apple’s iPhone 5s, 5c Opening Weekend Sales Numbers Exaggerated?

Apple had issued a press release early Monday stating 9 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c sales on opening weekend, which had begun on Friday, September 20th, made records. CEO Tim Cook said that it had sold the most iPhone units this weekend of any launch weekend in the past. However, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is now putting a dent on Apple’s sales numbers, stating that the iPhone-maker had only sold 5.5 million units of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c over the weekend, not the whopping 9 million units overall.

Munster says that the unaccounted 3.5 million-unit difference between his numbers and Apple’s stated numbers are due to iPhone 5c models that are sold to carriers, but sitting in inventory in those channel partners’ retail stores.

yvntqKRWS89d2043nMZ7Uq_MpJ3-2BXglGtNo3J45Qg“Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says $aapl DID NOT sell 9 m iPhones to consumers. 3.5 m iPhone 5c were sold to carriers, but sitting in store,” Chris O’Brien had posted to Twitter.

Per Apple’s secretive policy, the company did not provide a breakdown of how many iPhone 5s and how many iPhone 5c smartphones were sold, nor did it break down how many units were delivered through its stores and website and how many units were sold to partners, like carrier retail stores and big box retailers.

The discrepancy in reporting unit sales could signify a change of direction for Apple in how it reports units sold of its smartphone. In the past, Apple only accounted for iPhone sales if the units were sold to customers, and not sitting idly in inventory. Appe’s old method of accounting was unusual as much of the industry boast “sales numbers” based on the number of units shipped regardless of whether they were delivered to consumers or sitting in inventory in warehouses.

It’s unclear if Apple’s recent change in accounting is a reactive approach to increased investor scrutiny as its stock price fluctuates. Though Apple continues to deliver strong financial performance, there has been more pressure on Wall Street and in the investor community for Apple to deliver more and offer more revolutionary solutions in the consumer market.

Additionally, this year, Apple is also experimenting with a new product strategy. Rather than selling the iPhone 5 at a discounted price, Apple discontinued the 1-year-old smartphone and opted to re-craft it in a colorful plastic shell in the form of the iPhone 5c. The company had anticipated the phone to move more being that it is more affordable, but instead customers in China and around the world are flocking to the iPhone 5s and the unusual gold color is selling particularly well creating sell-out conditions globally. Apple is even rumored to boost gold-hued iPhone 5s production by as much as 30 percent.

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For comparison, rival Samsung had moved 10 million units of its popular flagship Android-powered Galaxy S4 smartphone in about a month. If Apple continues its momentum, it would achieve roughly the same amount of sales in about two weeks, or roughly half as long as Samsung took to move as many Galaxy S4 smartphones.

  

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