The bubble isn't bursting but Apple won't sell 250 million iPhone 5s

The bubble isn't bursting but Apple won't sell 250 million iPhone 5s

Whatever your thoughts are on the Apple v Samsung legal slugfest, it's giving us a rare look at the inner workings of two of the most successful companies on the planet as they force each other to shed light on how they go about doing what they do.

The past few days have been particularly interesting, with some seriously heavy hitters on the Apple side weighing into proceedings as the case unfolds in the San Jose courts.

One detail in particular that caught my eye, however – and has been fairly widely reported by the tech press – is Apple VP Phil Schiller's revelation that barring the original 2007 iPhone (for obvious reasons), “each new generation [has] sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined”.

It's an interesting remark given how quiet Apple itself tends to keep when it comes to sales projections – as in all things it leaves the speculation to others.

But it's also provided the perfect springboard for some iPhone 5 predictions, with the way being led by analyst firm Asymco, whose Horace Dediu reckons based on Schiller's comments and a bit of fuzzy maths that the company is planning to shift upwards of 263 million units of the next iPhone.

Which, needless to say, is a lot. And from where I'm standing, it's also not going to happen.

This isn't something like Moore's Law, after all. The number of people on the planet is finite, and technological advancement isn't going to change that. Schiller's comments talk about current and past models, and has wording doesn't suggest in any way that Apple expects the pattern to continue, so anyone suggesting that's the case is misquoting him.

Then there's the impact of the global financial slowdown, which together with the near universal reach of the mobile industry has led to widespread predictions that the unstoppable mobile rise is starting to ease off.

On top of that, most predictions we have seen to date talk of the iPhone selling around 200 million units in total next year. And that's for all models in circulation around the globe, not just the latest release (to be fair, Dediu points much of this out himself).

Predicting that Apple will sell a quarter of a billion iPhone 5s makes for some good headlines, and I'm sure the fanbois are loving it, but I suspect Mr Phil Schiller would politely point out that he said nothing of the sort.

Read more about: iOSApple iPhone 5

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