iPhone 5 Sales Could Hit 10 Million Out the Gate

By | Sep 11, 2012

Batten down the hatches! Or else open them wide and rig up the hoisting gear. The iPhone 5 is about to debut. And at least one analyst believes that iPhone 5 sales will sell up to 10 million units before the end of the month. For IT managers at midsize firms, it means that an end-of-summer storm is brewing.

Users will be clamoring to show off their brand-new latest and greatest on the job. And they will want to use it right away--not next quarter, not next month, now! Some of the loudest clamors may come from the C-suite, which means that if IT is not ready to support the latest iPhone, it will need to be ready with a convincing explanation of why not.

A Perfect Storm

No tech company - probably no company of any sort - is better at building consumer anticipation than Apple. It doesn't matter that Samsung's Galaxy S3 recently surpassed the iPhone 4 to become the biggest-selling smartphone. No one outside of Samsung is hyperventilating over the Galaxy S3.

And as Lance Whitney reports at CNET, Apple's genius for hype is likely to translate into sales as well. The iPhone 5 will (per "authorized rumor") be officially unveiled at an Apple event on September 12. According to the advance buzz, it will go on sale on September 21.

By the end of September, suggests analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, iPhone 5 sales will reach 6 to 10 million units. For comparison, last year's iPhone 4S sold 4 million during its debut three-day weekend.

In the longer term, analyst Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan projects that sales of all iPhone models will hit 168 million in fiscal 2013.

Ready or Not, Here It Comes

But for IT departments at midsize firms, the challenge of dealing with the iPhone 5 will not wait for the long term. It will be hitting - with gale force - by the end of this month.

True, one of the dirty little secrets of the iPhone, and presumably all smartphones, is that many users simply use them as phones. These users never download an app, never even go online. But the first-wave buyers will likely include a large proportion of sophisticated users. And they will want to take the latest iPhone capabilities out for a spin, including at work.

Even for IT departments that currently support the iPhone, this will (probably) mean adapting to the latest version of the iOS operating system. This will not necessarily be an overnight process. There are good reasons - especially relating to security - to proceed with caution.

But have fun explaining this to the C-suite.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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