There was little doubt that the iPhone 5 would shift, but the phone sold a whopping 2 million units on its first day, stretching delivery dates to weeks past the imminent launch. For those willing to wait, news is leaking out about the next, next big thing in super-phones, to cast a little doubt in wavering minds.
Ringing up the Sales
Just in case anyone was expecting a crash in iPhone interest or sales, prepare to be disappointed. Apple's new phone, that goes on sale Friday, sold over two million pre-orders during its first day of online orders. That figure was announced after Apple reported last week that sales were trouncing the record set by the 4S.
Apple Stores and telcos are promising stock for the 8 A.M. (your local time) Friday launch in 22 countries, and folks are already starting to queue for them at Apple's flaghip store on 5th Avenue, New York. Most stockists expect to sell out fast, even though the iPhone 5 is a fairly evolutionary product, the magic appears to still there for consumers, which will only help keep Apple's stock price riding the express elevator.
The only possible black spot is that Apple can't push the hardware much harder to any real practical purpose (who needs a mobile super computer?), or change the form of the phone without it becoming something fundamentally different. So, as the super-phone class is broadly comparable, anyone wanting out of the Apple-ecosystem has plenty of places to turn.
Samsung Striking Back
Which is why Samsung has let slip word, or at least a torrent of rumor, about its upcoming model, which is scheduled to be released next Spring. Likely running a 5-inch screen, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is edging up on the 4.8-inch screen of the S3. It will likely contain more powerful components, perhaps including Imagination's "Rogue" graphics processor, which is the poster-chip that will bring genuine console-class graphics to phones.
Until someone rips an iPhone 5 apart, no one is sure what's driving Apple's claimed "console-level graphics", but that statement and demonstration wasn't the finest part of Apple's show. With the new Lumia 920 coming with Windows Phone 8, and other high-class Android phones out there, picking a new phone for those not welded to a brand will be very tricky.
Of course, there are many millions of customers quite happy with their existing devices, tied into contracts and generally fed up with the hype. As this segment of satisfied users grows, these mega launches will see waning interest over successive generations of devices, as they feel no need to upgrade.