Analysing the success of the iPhone 5

By September 19, 2012Apple

The launch of the iPhone5 has been a big success. First day sales are higher than for previous versions of the device and Apple’s share price is up, and forecast to go much higher. People are saying that Apple has ‘perfected the iPhone‘.

And, to be fair, it is a very solid device and Apple’s launch process has been immaculate. To launch in 100 countries by the year end is amazing.

But there are two important factors which make me think the current success is qualitatively different to the success of previous iPhones (particularly the 3 and 4);

 

  • the iPhone 5 is only an incremental improvement over the 4S
  • people who have bought the new iPhone already mostly decided to do so before details of the device were released – i.e. their decision was based more on Apple’s brand than their product

 

These facts leave me wonding if Apple’s brand is now getting ahead of it’s products. When that sort of divergence arises it doesn’t persist for long, especially these days. I remember being taught early in my career that a ‘good brand is a good promise delivered’, and part of Apple’s brand promise has been revolutionary new products. We haven’t seen one of those for a while now – probably since the iPhone4 (2010) or the iPad2 (2011),