Three Apple charts I’m pondering this afternoon. Timing, inventory, China… and the iPad ASP is down from $662 to $538 since launch.
It seems to me that there are several factors compressing iPhone sales into the launch quarter and the quarter immediately following:
- Speculation before launch is intensifying, leading people to delay purchases
- Apple is getting better at filling demand quickly - iPhone 4 sales were to some extent smoothed out over several quarters simply because supply was tight - this was not the case for the 4S
- The 4S was launched in the west in the Christmas quarter and in China in the Chinese New Year quarter, both big purchasing seasons.
Meanwhile the 2 year contract model will make this self reinforcing over time: people who buy in a launch quarter will come off contract in another launch quarter. That will be especially important as the mix moves from new users to replacement.
In other words, this sort of lumpiness is inherent in the ‘one big product a year’ model, but there are a number of technical factors amplifying it.