An Apple spokesperson has confirmed to CNBC that the company won’t be reporting opening-weekend sales numbers for the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, giving the publication a funny reason for the unexpected decision: due to demand outweighing supply, Apple feels that first-weekend sales stats are “no longer a representative metric” for investors and customers when it comes to iPhones.
To me, that sounds more like Apple management aiming to pre-empty any further fallout in case launch sales are not as high as Wall Street analysts like to predict.
The company will continue to report iPhone sales in quarterly earning reports.
Here’s Apple’s statement in full (emphasis mine):
We expect iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be incredibly popular with customers and we are thrilled to begin taking pre-orders on September 9. Customers will receive their new iPhones starting September 16.
In years past, we’ve announced how many new iPhones had been sold as of the first weekend following launch. But as we have expanded our distribution through carriers and resellers to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, we are now at a point where we know before taking the first customer pre-order that we will sell out of iPhone 7.
These initial sales will be governed by supply, not demand, and we have decided that it is no longer a representative metric for our investors and customers. Therefore we won’t be releasing a first-weekend number any longer. We are reiterating the financial guidance for the September quarter that we provided on July 26.
The “any longer” bit implies they won’t be reporting launch sales data for any new iPhone going forward, not just the new iPhone 7 models.
The decision is also curious given Apple has never shied away from bragging about strong launch sales numbers for new iPhones. But as smartphone sales have been decelerating for the past few quarters and the market for handsets has matured, the iPhone has taken a hit with three consecutive quarters of lower-than-expected sales.
Essentially, Apple just pulled a Samsung.
Remember, the South Korean firm stopped reporting smartphone and tablet shipments a few years back over competitive reasons. Total iPhone sales since the handset’s 2007 debut passed one billion cumulative units back in July.