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Apple on Thursday said it would not be releasing first-weekend sales figures for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, ending a tradition several years in the making.
In a statement to Reuters, Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet said that as they have expanded distribution through carriers and resellers to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, they are now at a point that they know even before taking the first pre-order that the iPhone 7 will sell out.
The initial sales figures will be governed not by demand, but by supply. As such, Huguet adds, they’ve decided that it is no longer a representative metric for investors and customers.
That a valid reason although it’s likely not the only factor contributing to Apple’s decision.
Last week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in research note that mass production of the new iPhones did not begin until mid-August which is later than expected. The reason for the delay, the analyst continued, is that Apple’s supply chain faced issues ramping up production due to the challenges of waterproofing the new phones.
Market saturation and the fact that some people are holding on to their phones longer than the usual two-year upgrade cycle – something Apple is partially responsible for this year considering the iPhone 7 doesn’t feature the major redesign that a non-S model typically affords – is also contributing to cooling sales.
By withholding first-weekend sales, Apple is protecting itself from the negative press that would come if sales aren’t through the roof as they have been in past years, regardless of the reason. It’s the wise thing to do from a business standpoint but it means analysts and investors will have to wait until the next quarterly report to gauge initial interest in the iPhone 7.