Apple iPhone 5 Release Date Hits China: First Weekend Launch Sales Top 2M

 @redletterdave on December 17 2012 11:00 AM

Apple products are hot in China, the company's second largest market, and last Friday's iPhone 5 launch proved to be a very successful outing. Despite going up against scalpers and imposters, Apple still managed to sell more than 2 million iPhone 5 units to Chinese customers in just two days.

"Customer response to iPhone 5 in China has been incredible, setting a new record with the best first weekend sales ever in China," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the company's Monday press release. "China is a very important market for us, and customers there cannot wait to get their hands on Apple products."

Just days after Chinese regulators approved the iPhone 5 for sale in the country in late November, Apple quickly announced it would release the iPad Mini, fourth-generation iPad with Retina Display (a.k.a. iPad 4) and iPhone 5 within the next few weeks. 

Apple introduced the iPad Mini and iPad 4 to Chinese customers on Dec. 7; with the iPhone 5 going on sale last Friday, China now has all of the latest iOS devices from Apple.

Apple's stock [Nasdaq: AAPL] hasn't improved much since the company released the iPhone 5 in 33 new countries last Friday. In fact, shares dropped on Friday morning from $529 to $507; in early morning trading on Monday, the stock is trading around $505 to $507 per share.

The iPhone 5 also launched in 32 other countries last Friday, including Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

According to the company's aggressive product release schedule, Apple will release the iPhone 5 in another 20 countries this Friday, including Egypt, Mali and Vietnam. By the end of the month, the iPhone 5 will be available in 101 countries around the world, thanks to the addition of 54 new countries in December alone.

About The iPhone 5

The iPhone 5, Apple’s sixth-generation smartphone, is 18 percent thinner than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, at just 7.6mm and is 20 percent lighter than the 4S at 112 grams. The iPhone 5 features a bigger 4-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio for watching videos in full widescreen, and Apple has again made its new in-cell display a Retina Display, with a screen resolution of 1136 x 640 screen and a density of 336 ppi.

The iPhone 5’s screen, according to an extensive analysis by Amherst, N.H.-based DisplayMate, is actually a “significant improvement” over the smaller screens in the iPhone 4S and 4 and is also substantially brighter and more accurate than the screen in Samsung’s Galaxy S3, which many consider to be the greatest rival to Apple and the iPhone 5. Read the full lab comparison here.

The iPhone 5 is also the first Apple phone to feature the high-speed long-term evolution, or LTE, network. Currently, the global LTE carriers supporting this phone include AT&T, Bell, Sprint, Verizon, Telus, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra, EE and SingTel, as well as a number of regional carriers such as Cricket, C Spire, Nex-Tech Wireless, MTA Solutions, nTelos and a slew of others.

The general theme of the iPhone 5 is speed: In addition to support for the LTE network, the iPhone 5 also features a custom-built A6 processor, which actually boasts more than twice the overall processing performance of any iOS device that has come before it, including the third-generation iPad, as well as newly enhanced camera infrastructure and the new 8-pin Lightning dock connector. The iPhone 5 is powered by iOS 6, which features more than 200 new features for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, including several enhancements to its virtual personal assistant, Siri, the handy application for movie tickets and coupons called Passbook and the completely redesigned -- albeit half-baked -- Maps application from Apple.

Apple sells the iPhone 5 in two color combinations -- black and slate, or white and silver -- and at three different storage capacities: The cheapest iPhone 5 comes with 16 GB of space and sells for $199, and, after that, it’s $299 for 32 GB and $399 for 64GB. Apple will likely sell the phone at a slightly more expensive price point in China, as it does with several other countries in Europe and South America.

Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in Q4 2012.

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