By 10 a.m. Friday, Chinese customers had preordered 2.3 million iPhone 12s

From “Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 may have drawn derision on China’s social media but millions are still signing up for it” posted Friday in the South China Morning Post:

Reaction on Chinese social media to Apple’s new iPhone 12 has been lukewarm to say the least but that has not stopped over 2.3 million Chinese consumers signing up for the US smartphone giant’s new handset series on major e-commerce sites.

As of 10am on Friday, over 1.5 million people had made reservations to buy iPhone 12 handsets from the official Apple store on JD.com, a major e-commerce site in China. The standard iPhone 12 had over 737,000 user bookings, while the iPhone 12 Pro had 390,000, according to company information.

My take: Carrying the latest iPhone still confers status in China.

25 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    Wow, egg facial here.

    This time, short term trends matter. Votes by wallet matter. Folks have been waiting and they were not disappointed. Apple’s features matters. Price spectrum matters. In China, 5G spectrum matters.

    3
    October 16, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Votes by wallet matter.

      Apple’s long range planning and execution continues to impress the hell out of me.

      Think about it, the lack of ease pods (that nobody wants) isn’t an issue for the 100s of millions that already own Air Pods or Air Pods Pro. Does anybody really think it’s accidental that Apple introduced Air Pods years before the iPhone 12 was introduced?

      How many here already own Air Pods or Air Pods Pro?

      Apple just engineered (quite subtly) a $249 price increase in the iPhone in a way consumers never balked at, because of the value proposition of the Air Pod/Pro as a stand alone product.

      How does Apple routinely profit so much more than the competition? It’s simple: Apple management is several orders of magnitude smarter (and of course it’s products are so much better).

      4
      October 16, 2020
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Damn spell check. Ease pods should read “ear” pods.

        1
        October 16, 2020
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ Gregg Thurman —

        “How many here already own Air Pods or Air Pods Pro?”

        Oh, how I will bite on THAT bait…

        1) Original AirPods

        2) AirPods 2

        3) AirPods Pro

        Eagerly awaiting to fill in #4.

        1
        October 16, 2020
      • Fred Stein said:
        Great points as usual, Gregg. One point stands out, ” Apple management being several orders of magnitude smarter..”

        Why? That one point could be a book.

        In this last announcement its like Bobby Fisher check-mating a dozen opponents at once. And no one noticed.

        3
        October 16, 2020
        • David Drinkwater said:
          “One point stands out, ‘Apple management being several orders of magnitude smarter..’

          Why? That one point could be a book.”

          It is a book. It’s Walter Isaacson’s “Steve jobs”.

          It is the fact that Steve Jobs’ greatest creation ever was Apple, “the Company”, and the C-Suite and Board that run it and direct it.

          I wonder where the puck is going, and as I write this, I still don’t think I know, entirely, what the code is for TV with “I’ve cracked it”. Is it the new world of internet unbundling of channels on a subscription basis and Netflix/HBO/Amazon/Apple/etc., … all competing to create content on a much more independent and level playing field?

          (continued)

          0
          October 17, 2020
          • David Drinkwater said:
            As I’m thinking about all this, my head is fairly exploding. The 5G iPhone surely does seem to be waking a lot of dormant demand. I bought an iPhone X when it came out, because it was a “X” or a “Ten” or a … new novelty. Depending on how the form factor fits in my pocket, the next one is going to be either a 12 Pro or Pro Max. Gotta get that camera upgrade and want the LIDAR, but …

            Well, it makes almost no sense to me that I have been this patient to upgrade to a “new” phone, but the iPhone X has served me remarkably well over the last three years, and, since it’s been in use so long, there are some minor scratches on its screen. I am confident that Corning’s new glass/ceramic will be even more resistant to such. As an Upstate New Yorker, a Cornell Alum, and a ceramic scientist, I have the utmost respect for the partnership Apple has developed with Corning. It’s a pity the glass/quartz factory in Arizona didn’t work out, but it was an alluring moonshot.

            All this is to say that I think the iPhone 12 is going to be a super-impressive cycle, even if it is not actually a or “the” Supercycle that is prognosticated.

            People are worrying or whining that Apple’s current P/E is too high? Nonsense! For one thing, Apple will continue to sell a lot of phones. For another, Apple will continue to reap its rewards from the App Store, both for Apple Apps and from it’s “Shop Tax” on apps made by independent vendors.

            Sorry, heady stuff. 🙂

            0
            October 17, 2020
          • Gregg Thurman said:
            and Board that run it and direct it.

            Doesn’t say when much about the BoD while Markula was Chairman, does it.

            0
            October 17, 2020
            • David Drinkwater said:
              I don”t have the historical investor insight to think that far back, but I’m glad I’m being read. 🙂

              It might be important to emphasize my intent:
              “the C-Suite and Board that run it and direct it.”
              vs
              The C-Suite that runs it and the Board that directs it.

              I wrote that in a somewhat reversed parallel language, but I did not include the word “respectively” to clarify my intent (somewhat intentionally).

              0
              October 17, 2020
  2. Bart Yee said:
    And this is just from one Chinese e-commerce site. Consider Alibaba and all three Telecoms when they release numbers by end of weekend. It’s very possible we may see 8-10M preordered and we still have the mini/Max to go. Considering my target is 75M+ iPhone sales this quarter, getting a 10%+ headstart would bode well overall and a big rebound for China region.

    4
    October 16, 2020
  3. Bart Yee said:
    These initial numbers suggest allocations for China will be huge, plus local manufacturing allows for rapid inventory replenishment if needed.

    Also consider the Max size is very popular in China as a status symbol, gamers and media consumers. Meanwhile the mini may start a new trend for young and older women alike too.

    If we start seeing positive reports about tangible improvements in 5G speeds, it may accelerate iPhone 12 sales and acceptance.

    4
    October 16, 2020
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Meanwhile the mini may start a new trend for young and older women alike too.

      My daughter’s significant isn’t at all impressed with the iPhone 12. That said he’s VERY interested in the iPhone 12 mini. Why? He gets a larger screen than the iPhone SE and it will fit his smaller hand so well.

      Could that logic (Along with price) extend to Asia as well?

      2
      October 16, 2020
      • Arthur Cheng said:
        No. Chinese do a lot on the smart phones in general. You would not believe what they can do on WeChat until you actually see it. Just about everything. Most Chinese do not own a computer, the phone is their computer. They need a larger screen. It is hard to read Chinese text on a small screen.

        2
        October 16, 2020
  4. Steven Philips said:
    My initial reaction to the iPhone event was that the mini was going to be a big seller.

    4
    October 16, 2020
  5. Robert Stack said:
    @ Gregg: I dunno – I kinda like “ease pods”. After all, they ease in and out of your ear quite readily. (Easily?) 🙂

    0
    October 16, 2020
  6. David Emery said:
    I’m surprised this report didn’t seem to impact AAPL’s stock price today.

    1
    October 16, 2020
    • Bart Yee said:
      @David and Fred

      That’s because the report came from the South China Morning Post out of Hong Kong, but owned for the past 2-3 years by Alibaba from Mainland China. Since it now is seen as a “soft power” China projector and projector, very few in the US care about or read it because of China bias. Surely US media and news outlets are free from nationalistic bias because they are owned by corporations or singular billionaires /s.

      I found it initially when the China portion of the Pandemic started and China’s frantic response started coming out, positive and negative. They also had a fairly good stat counter regarding cases and deaths, which also was useful when it spread to other countries. I switched over to Johns Hopkins for relevant Covid Stats.

      Others like the Nikkei Review, Korea Herald, The Guardian, and now some Indian news outlets provide great digital coverage of Apple and its markets. Just another way to be better informed about our favorite company and its competitors.

      3
      October 16, 2020
  7. John Konopka said:
    To say that any product garners derision from social media is almost a given. I’ve almost given up on online reviews. I’ve been looking at water heaters, HVAC, flooring, and other stuff for a new home. No matter the brand the comment sections are split between loving and hating them. I think that the people who are happy with a product just use it. The few who have problems post one star reviews. In addition, there is a kind of snobbery or maybe sour grapes in knocking down one product or another.

    This is a case in point. Social media people complain about the iPhone while millions and millions of people pre-order them.

    2
    October 16, 2020
    • David Emery said:
      A couple years ago, I was looking for a microwave. I read both Consumer Reports and on-line reviews. Some items that got raves from CR also had significant “it caught fire” reports on Amazon that I found credible.

      That, coupled with CR’s positions on Macs over the years, pretty much soured me on their methodology.

      On a related note, all printers < $500 are unrepairable, unsupported crap. 🙁

      0
      October 16, 2020
  8. Bart Yee said:
    @John & @David
    I’ve had the same conundrum in recent past with refrigerators, HVAC, water heaters. I never, ever trust reviews that are not over 6-13 months old because reliability is what counts.

    On Fridges, I ruled out Samsung & LG quickly, very frequent problems w/compressors & ice makers due to hardware & design issues. Compounding that is poor repair & warranty service, not enough trained repairmen & to top it off, lack of sufficient repair parts or depots. They look sexy w/LED lighting, video screens & WiFi home connected, but if you can’t get the basics of keeping stuff frozen or cold, what good are these fluff features (sound familiar?). In the end, bought 3 Whirlpools. While still w/some issues for others, design has been around, lots of sources for factory or aftermarket parts, & tons of people who can repair, plus easy DIY for those of inclined. Reliable so far for us. GE sold off Appliances to Haier, also Chinese. I rarely consider Euro brands for majors & TOTL like Viking & SubZero are too costly.

    0
    October 16, 2020
    • Bart Yee said:
      On HVAC, have had very good luck w/Lennox compressor units, furnaces & air handlers. I’m particular happy w/their large MERV 16 rated carbon air filter systems, removes dust, pollen, odors, bacteria & viruses (MERV 16 = virtual N95 HEPA). Easy to change out too w/proper plenum / filter system design & installation. They also have optional UV light sterilization for the ne’ plus ultra air cleaning. The filtration can be added to any system. Furnace / fan system very good & energy efficient. Carrier is another good brand. I’ve used Costco’s installers to good effect (cashback a +) but I check them out via Yelp & quotes before I commit.

      For water heaters, a lot depends on size of house, # of hot water needs (baths & kitchen), state of plumbing, and # of people using. Regular 50+ gallon heaters work well, last 10-12 yrs or more with proper care, reasonably energy efficient & cheap with gas, electric makes no sense to me. However, in non-hard water areas where use demand is high, the newer tankless water heaters make a lot of sense. Big problem for me is LA hard water and deposits which can sometimes cause problems of scale and frequent cleaning of the heating coils or replacement. But unlimited hot water and fast heating. For some, even local undersink systems may be useful. So a lot depends on your home and of course, installer.

      0
      October 16, 2020
  9. David Drinkwater said:
    Add a water softener to your tankless water heater network. Boom! Done! My whole house and garage run on a water softener. Admittedly, it’s just me, but it works.

    For more totally irrelevant product placement, I am a huge fan of the Kohler DTV (digital thermostatic valve) systems. They aren’t cheap, but they are awesome: this is my desired shower temperature; it stays fixed – or I can raise it or drop it by one degree at a time as my mood or need requires. (In summer in Texas, dropping the temp can slow the sweat systems after a walking workout.)

    0
    October 17, 2020

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