Apple's iPhone 5 is in the wild, and iOS 6 is loading up on iOS devices as fast as users can click the Install button. There are plenty of opinions on what Apple got right and what the company got wrong, and Mac OS Ken's Ken Ray is ready to wrap them all up with a pretty bow just for you.
iPhone 5: It's Shiny and New!
In the wake of the quick sellout of first-round iPhone 5 pre-orders I said, I'd love it if Apple issued one of those nifty press releases the company puts out from time-to-time, saying, "Man alive, you won't believe it. We sold "X" million iPhone 5s in the first hour/day/weekend of availability, making iPhone 5 the fastest selling smartphone ever."
I also said I'd also like a whisky river flowing through my backyard, as long as we're making wish lists. I will spend the rest of the day in my backyard with a tumbler.
Apple's sent out a press release following saying that pre-orders of the iPhone 5 topped two million in just 24 hours. That, the company says, is "more than double the previous record of one million held by iPhone 4S." And yes, they're out of iPhone 5s for the time being, unless you want to do the stand-in-line-shuffle.
Quoting Apple, "Demand for iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October."
Kind of wish I'd wished for something bigger, now.
Even before Apple's fun with numbers with numbers release, we had heard that sales had gone well for one of iPhone 5's U.S. carriers. AllThingsD had AT&T saying early Monday that iPhone 5 was the fastest-selling iPhone it had ever offered, and that day-one and first weekend pre-orders were better than day-one and first weekend pre-orders for any iPhone before the 5.
Is that not the same as "fastest selling iPhone ever?"
In the wake of the Apple and AT&T announcements, financial analysts -- who were already pleased with iPhone 5's prospects -- are starting to guess at sales numbers for the current quarter, which ends in about a week and a half.
A lot of them seem comfortable in the 10-million unit or higher range, according to AppleInsider. Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley thinks between 9 million and 10 million iPhone 5s by the end of this quarter is doable at this point. Additionally the shuffles in the line, sending the iPhone 4S down to $99, the iPhone 4 down to free and the iPhone 3GS to sleep with the fishes, those shuffles have led to "solid sales" of legacy models according to his checks with Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White had said before yesterday's Apple announcement that iPhone 5 sales could hit between 10 million and 12 million units by the end of this quarter, though now he says those estimates "look conservative."
He heard demand was exceeding supply, right?
CNET has Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster staying on the -- suddenly -- conservative side, saying he thinks Apple will sell between 8 million and 10 million iPhone 5s before Monday, though sales could be as low as 6 million. And "low" is a relative term in this case. Last year's first weekend sales for iPhone 4S came in around 4 million units. 6 million in Uncle Gene's estimate would be a "worst case scenario."
So he thinks the worst Apple could do with the first weekend of iPhone 5 sales is 33 percent growth over the first weekend of iPhone 4S sales.
Finally, one analyst is excited, but not so much for this quarter as for next. Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um is taking the shortfall between supply and demand to heart. He thinks Apple's supply constraints could lead to numbers that aren't as stellar for this quarter as they will be for the next. But next quarter hang on to your hats.
Mr. Maynard thinks whatever supply hiccups Apple has will be worked out in short order, and that the company will catch up to customer demand for iPhone 5 soon.
Fortune ran bits and pieces of several reviews of iPhone 5, starting with the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg: "The world's most popular smartphone becomes significantly faster, thinner and lighter this week, while gaining a larger, 4-inch screen—all without giving up battery life, comfort in the hand and high-quality construction."
Time's Harry McCracken:
Apple's mojo remains fully operational. The iPhone 5 features some upgrades which, though not groundbreaking in the least, are welcome, like its slightly-larger screen and zippy 4G LTE broadband. It sports an improved version of what was already the single best camera in phonedom. It makes Siri smarter. In short, it's the most polished version yet of what was already easily the most polished phone on the market.
TechCrunch's MG Siegler:
You pick it up and it almost feels fake. That's not to say it feels cheap; because it doesn't — quite the opposite, actually. It just doesn't seem real. Certainly not to someone who has been holding the iPhone 4/4S for the past two years. It feels like someone took one of those devices and hollowed it out.
And finally Scott Stein at CNET: "It's absolutely the best iPhone to date, and it easily secures its place in the top tier of the smartphone universe."
I say "and finally," though there were plenty more where that came from. In fact throw a cyber-rock in cyberspace and it's likely you'll hit an iPhone 5 review. And it's even more likely that that review will be overwhelmingly positive.
iOS 6: Don't Get Lost
iOS 6 hit iPhones, iPads and iPod touches of the world, yesterday. It came "over 200 new features" about which the company spoke at last week's Yerba Buena Center event as well as the WWDC keynote back in June.
Few if any surprises, though one fear was apparently realized by a number of people. They thought they would hate the Apple Maps app, replacing the built-in Google Maps application in iOS 6, and a whole vocal lot of them do, indeed, hate it. Fortune rounded up a few.
The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg says Apple's Maps app is "step backward" and is iPhone 5's "biggest drawback." Time's Harry McCracken says urbanites "may mourn the iPhone 5's inability to provide public-transportation routes."
Bloomberg's Rich Jaroslovsky says the app is "too easily confused." He writes:
At one point, as I was driving south on San Francisco's Embarcadero, it thought I was going north; at another point, it mistakenly thought I was on Fremont Street, a couple of blocks away. I encountered a similar issue walking in downtown San Francisco.
If you're looking for good news around the Maps thing, there are a few bright points: the 3D flyover thing is really awesome looking on my iPad 2, it stands to reason that Apple's Maps app can only get better, and Google has said it will make a native version of its maps app for iOS 6. So, assuming it's approved by Apple, the old way of doing things should be back on iThings soon. As long as users download it on their own. And as long as they're cool with ads, since the app will apparently display them, with no way to opt out.
It is worth noting, users can access maps.google.com through Safari on iThings as well. I did that and the first thing the site did was suggest I put a link to Google Maps on my home screen, and it gave me quick and easy instructions on how to do it. But I didn't because I don't hate the Apple Maps app. I don't love it, but I don't hate it.
I will say, though, the nearly universal hatred of Maps in iOS 6 will likely be forgotten by people who pick up iPhone 5.
One of the biggest complaints about the app is the lack of public transportation information. For this comes Apple's third plan for turning around the Mapocalypse... Developers, developers, developers.
TechCrunch has a pretty in-depth piece on the opportunities being made for those developers, though it doesn't sound like it's actually going to improve the Maps app itself anytime soon. if you haven't tried it yet, there is an icon under directions in the iOS 6 Maps application for public transit. But, when you put in points A and B, then click for directions, the app opens up a page of "Routing Apps," ranging in price from free to $40.
Just to try it out, I downloaded a free one, then went back to Maps and ran my search again. This time I had my free app to choose, but here's the disjointed bit: the information doesn't come up in the Maps App. Rather, users are kicked out to whatever "Routing App" they've chosen to use.
Chris Cieslak, one of the developers of the Buster app for Chicago city transit, sees kicking people to another app as a downer for end-users, even if it is better for him. What he'd like to see is Apple giving developers a way to display their routing information in the iOS 6 Maps app. And this is something that Embark co-founder David Hodge says is not going to happen. Embark makes a number of transit apps for U.S. cities.
While Hodge might agree that such a system would make a better end user experience, he just doesn't see it as feasible. Ultimately, he thinks after being kicked to a thrid-party app a few times, people will just start going straight to those. And that'll work out for him, assuming his is the app people end up choosing.
Big opportunity for developers. While people wait for a standalone Google Maps app for iOS.
Apple's plans for taking care of its built-in Maps app for iOS 6 -- Mapocalypse I saw one head line call it -- are multi-faceted. They started with an explanation. Apple PR person Trudy Muller offered a statement to AllThingsD. On Apple's stab at Maps, Muller says:
We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.
Based on the customer lash-back, a lot of people think better is the only direction it could go from here.
Steve Jobs: Now in Wax
And finally this week, as we approach the one-year anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs, word of something I feel fairly certain he'd have hated.
A Cult of Mac piece says Madame Tussauds Wax Mueseum in Hong Kong will unveil a wax figure of Mr. Jobs on Thursday, September 27th. The piece says the figure was modeled after the photos taken for Jobs' Fortune Magazine cover in 2006. The house of wax has also dressed the pseudo CEO in the Jobs' uniform, consisting of a black turtle neck, Levi 501 jeans and New Balance sneakers.
Which do you think he'd have disliked more: a wax mannequin of himself? of the guy from "That 70s Show" playing him in a movie?