Apple's first-day pre-orders for iPhone 12 surpassed the iPhone 11, top analyst says

  • First-day iPhone 12 pre-orders surpassed last year's iPhone 11 pre-orders, according to top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities.
  • Kuo said Apple sold up to 2 million iPhone 12 models in the first 24 hours of pre-orders, up from 800,000 units of the iPhone 11 for the same period last year.
  • China has the most demand for the new iPhones since the country's 5G networks are more widely available than they are in other countries, he said.

Apple sold more iPhone 12 models in the first 24 hours of pre-orders last week than iPhone 11 models sold in the same period last year, according to top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International securities.

In a research note released Monday, Kuo reported that Apple sold up to 2 million iPhone 12 units in the first 24 hours, up from 800,000 units of the iPhone 11. But for the full weekend of pre-orders, which ended Sunday, Kuo predicted Apple would sell up to 9 million iPhone 12 units, down from the iPhone 11's 12 million units for the same period. The iPhone 12 Pro sold better than expected thanks to strong demand in China, Kuo said.

Kuo has an excellent track record predicting future Apple products and sales, so his reports carry extra weight, especially since Apple stopped reporting unit sales for the iPhone two years ago. Apple stopped reporting first-weekend sales of new iPhone models several years ago.

Meanwhile, many Apple analysts are predicting a "super cycle" of iPhone sales for Apple's fiscal 2021, which began in October, thanks to a larger than normal customer base due for an upgrade and the addition of 5G cellular connections.

Here are some more highlights from Kuo's report:

  • The iPhone 11 price cut to $599 caused weaker pre-order demand for the iPhone 12.
  • The iPhone 12 Pro, which has better cameras than the base model, sold better than expected in the first wave of pre-orders, thanks to 5G's broad availability in China. Kuo said China represented 35% to 45% of iPhone Pro demand.
  • Demand for the iPhone 12 Mini (a smaller version of the iPhone 12) and iPhone 12 Pro Max (a larger version of the iPhone 12 Pro), which go on sale next month, will be weaker than the 12 and 12 Pro.
  • The iPhone 12 Mini won't sell as well in China because of the smaller screen and the lack of support for two SIM cards, which lets users switch between carriers on the same device, a popular feature in Asia.
  • Shipping times for most models have slipped to five to 10 days, implying stronger demand than Apple has supply for.

Apple has a broad lineup of iPhone models this year at a wide range of price points, starting with the $399 iPhone SE and ending with the $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max. U.S. carriers like AT&T and Verizon are also offering various discounts on the new iPhones as they try to attract more customers to their 5G networks.

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