Record iPhone 5 Sales Under Predictions; Maps App Under Water

— September 25, 2012

Two things became clear on Friday, September 21 when Apple’s new iPhone 5 went on sale. The first was that the company would have its biggest opening day in history, as customers around the world lined up to get their hands on the latest smartphone. And, despite predictions from analysts that called for several million more, Apple did indeed set a record. The second was that, unless you preferred to end up in the ocean instead of on land, you had better not use Apple Maps.

Shortage or Shortfall?
Analysts had predicted sales to be nearly double the five million actually sold and one even forecasted that sales could impact the GDP. On Monday, Apple issued an official announcement confirming the initial sales figures adding that  more than 100 million iOS devices have been updated with iOS 6 as well.

The iPhone 5 is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, and will be available in 22 more countries on September 28 and more than 100 countries by the end of the year, so there is clearly plenty of time for Apple to meet and exceed expectations.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible. While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”

So, according to Cook, Apple just ran out. Nonetheless, there is still speculation about whether the estimates were a miss, sales were a miss or if the numbers truly reflect actual sales when you add in undelivered online orders.

No matter how you spin it, there is an actual supply problem. According to Bloomberg, “Apple Inc.’s decision to create a smartphone that boasts a thinner, lighter touch screen contributed to the component shortfall that caused demand to outstrip supply of the iPhone on its debut weekend.” The article goes on to say that producing this type of screen is “more painstaking than earlier screen types, contributing to bottle necks.”

To Map or Not to Map
The web and blogosphere were buzzing with comments and jokes about the Apple Maps app which was released with the company’s iOS 6 operating system and replaced Google Maps as the standard.

Reuters specifically mentioned that a “hospital now covers the center of British city Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace.” The app, in fact, fails to locate entire cities, conceives new airports on farmland and takes users far from their intended destinations.

Disgruntled users have taken to Twitter to air their grievances and some even created a Tumblr page to highlight the app’s most outrageous errors. @Michael_Kane (a member of Canada’s Business News Network) tweeted, “RIM developers conference joke: Do you know the way to San Jose? If not, don't use the Apple maps app…”

This comes after Apple decided to phase out Google Maps from its platform, starting with iOS 6. Some speculate that this was a premature move by Apple due to Google’s map-making experience and its own lack thereof. Even more interesting is the fact that company admits as much, proclaiming in an official statement that it is “just getting started” with the technology.

Reuters reported that Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a small group of reporters in Japan (where he was launching the Nexus tablet) “We think it would have been better if they had kept ours. But what do I know? What were we going to do, force them not to change their mind? It's their call."

iOS 6 in the Enterprise
With 100 million downloads and counting, is the enterprise moving as fast as users on iOS 6? The next article in this series of Apple updates will examine how businesses are managing yet another OS and see what solution providers are beginning to offer in terms of support.

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