The crappy sales of the iPhone 5 over the weekend have spawned a furious debate in tech-and-investor land.
On one side are those who shrug off the awful sales number, which suggested that iPhone launch sales were basically flat year-over-year in the markets in which the iPhone 4S launched last year. These folks attribute the lousy number to:
an accounting choice (Apple didn't include all the pre-orders in the "5 million sold"),
a supply problem (they just couldn't make more than 5 million phones), or
a timing choice (Apple would rather spread the sales out over the first couple of quarters.)
On the other side are those who think the limp sales are the result of iPhone fatigue. Outside of a small group of pretentious tech snoots, these people say, most consumers just don't care all that much about the iPhone 5. And they're not about to break their contracts and pony up for it without the carrier subsidy.
(Another group--fanboys, presumably--are trying to argue that the sales weren't lousy--that it was just idiot analysts who inflated expectations too high. We understand the desire of fanboys to protect their religion, but this is ludicrous. iPhone 5 launch-weekend sales were up only 25% year over year, despite the phone launching in 9 countries this year instead of 7. Given the immense hype around the iPhone 5, combined with the breathless reviews, that's just crappy.)
We won't know for sure who's right for another 6-12 months, but that shouldn't stop you from having an opinion.