iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus deliveries were showing several week delays only minutes after preorders launched, but don’t count on seeing how many sold come Monday because Apple isn’t sharing the numbers. The company said the numbers don’t reflect actual demand and don’t hold any value for investors.
Apple explained its decision to CNBC saying,
As we have expanded our distribution through carriers and resellers to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, we are now at a pointy 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.
Assuming that’s the case, withholding numbers that don’t hold any real value for investors, analysts, and customers makes sense. That said, not sharing preorder sales figures creates the impression—right or wrong—that iPhone demand is down and Apple is trying to obfuscate the news.
That’s exactly how many people interpreted Apple’s decision even before preorder sales began. When CNBC shared the news on Twitter readers responded with comments like, “oof… already scared for the bad numbers $AAPL,” “sounds like the numbers are bad,” and “$AAPL loves to brag when the numbers are great but when they’re not they won’t report the numbers.”
When preorder sales launched early Friday morning, however, demand for the new models seemed to be high. The Jet Black models slipped from September 16th deliveries into November in about 20 minutes, and other models were showing two and three week shipping delays. AT&T’s servers choked under the load and left many potential customers in the lurch for the better part of an hour before rebounding.
JUST IN: Apple says it will not be releasing iPhone pre-order numbers as it traditionally has in the past. pic.twitter.com/kGXfPcUkKB
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 8, 2016
Apple introduced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at a media event earlier this week with preorders starting at 12:01AM pacific time Friday morning and delivery starting on September 16th. The new models pack faster and more power efficient processors, improved cameras, higher quality Retina displays, solid state Home buttons, stereo speakers, and are more water proof than previous versions.
Removing the headphone jack in favor of audio over Lightning or Bluetooth raised speculation that buyers wouldn’t be interested in the new models—an assumption that, at least on its surface, looks to be wrong.
All we can really glean from the early morning preorder experience is that demand was outstripping supply for at least some models. Without any figures to go along with that, we don’t know if demand was high or supply was limited.