Older iPhones Still Selling Like, Well, iPhones
Apple is selling iPhone 5s as fast as it can make them, but it’s still selling a bunch of older iPhones as well. And to see that, one need only look at Verizon’s latest earnings.
Verizon sold a lot of iPhones in its third quarter: 3.1 million. That was about 46 percent of the smartphones activated on the carrier’s network during the period. Of those 3.1 million iPhones, 650,000 were the newly released iPhone 5, which arrived at market near the end of the quarter. That means the remaining 2.5 million iPhones activated by Verizon were older models like the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.
Now that might be disappointing news to investors who’d expected Verizon to sell almost twice the number of iPhone 5s that it did. And while constrained supplies of the handset are certainly cause for concern, the broader picture here is a good one for Apple.
For one thing, analysts like Gene Munster were expecting Verizon to sell just 2.5 million iPhones during the quarter. It sold quite a few more.
For another thing, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S continue to sell well. Verizon activated 2.5 million older model iPhones. That means consumers are still actively buying last year’s iPhone and the one that preceded it. And that is good news indeed for Apple. As Munster observed in a note to clients, “Verizon’s iPhone number suggests that the slowdown of older iPhones may not have been as drastic as previously suspected.”
In other words, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S will continue to drive sales at the lower end of the market, as the iPhone 5 drives sales at the higher end. And the iPhone 5 is just beginning to ramp up.