iPhone Sales Show Daftness of Comparing Apple With Pears

With 10 million iPhones sold in its first weekend, we’re all becoming fanboys

FACT: The Law of Big Numbers was created by a cadre of journalists who wanted to ensure that hugely successful companies could be described as struggling in their next rounds of coverage. Well, that’s not exactly true – or indeed at all true – but sometimes it feels that way. Take media coverage of Apple, where any numerical fall is called up on as prima facie evidence of significant decline.

Even reporters able to conjure worrying signs from earlier figures by squinting, looking sideways and shaking up a few irrelevant comparisons (‘comparing Apple with pears’, if you like) will struggle not to be impressed by the news that first weekend sales of the new iPhone 6 generation topped 10 million.

It seems amazing now that Apple in the 90s was all but washed up and the electronics sector appeared fodder for Dell and a legion of lower-cost competitors. The remarkable success of iGeneration products is all the more impressive for the fact that Apple can’t be dismissed as a fad. If Apple is a cult, as critics snipe, then it is a very long-running one and it is not reliant on any shock of the new to wow users.

Furthermore, the ecosystem (dread word) that it has fostered makes it unthinkable for many to leave its large and gilded cage. Apple hasn’t just reinvented the face of consumer and business electronics, it has also changed music, retail, film and photography… now, with Apple Pay, here comes payment and Apple as banker.

In short, Apple is unique in several ways and it continues to succeed while taking the road less travelled. So, no cheap iPhone after all this time; no effort to broaden out, license hardware specifications, meet Android on anything but Apple’s own terms.

Sometimes even the professional critic has to applaud the performance. Apple continues to Think Different and, with a market cap a half larger than that of Google or Microsoft, its rewards keep coming. Well played.

 Martin Veitch is Editorial Director at IDG Connect