Apple this morning reported record pre-orders for its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smart phones. According to the consumer electronics giant, pre-orders topped four million units in the first 24 hours alone. That's impressive on a number of levels, and even more so since Apple's online ordering system was missing in action for much of that time. But here's a sobering statistic: Apple sold as many iPhone 6 pre-orders in 24 hours as Microsoft/Nokia sold Lumia handsets in any two months of 2014.
This level of success—and Apple is a distant second in the smart phone market overall, remember—explains Microsoft's decision to focus on a "mobile first, cloud first" strategy. If the firm can get its mobile apps—connected to its online services—on the platforms people are really using, they can hopefully later convince them that these experiences are even better on Windows. Or something.
But this isn't about Microsoft, of course.
According to Apple, over 4 million people preordered iPhone 6/6 Plus in the first 24 hours of availability, outstripping the initial supply and pushing some preorders back to mid-October. Apple didn't say this, but based on a cursory examination of its online store, it appears that the Plus version—with its bigger 5.5-inch screen—is in bigger demand than the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6/6 Plus goes on sale Friday, so you can expect long lines at Apple's retail stores where people will start camping out early in order to try and obtain some of the devices that Apple earmarked for in-person sales. But it's pretty clear that while Apple has seen product lines like the iPod and iPad cool off, the iPhone is just going gangbusters. I'd be surprised if they don't double iPhone 5S/5C sales over the opening weekend, and some are expecting the first quarterly sales of these new devices to surpass 80 million units.
Whatever the numbers, as I noted before, I do expect the iPhone 6 generation to halt and even reverse the iPhone's ongoing market share slide vs. Android. That is, when this generation of devices concludes a year from now, I expect the iPhone to have rebounded in a non-temporary way and control a bigger part of the market than it does now. Still sub-20 percent, but better than before.
The key to this success is a set of changes that should cause many who had previously and studiously ignored Apple's devices to take a second look (which will in turn contribute to the success noted above). That is, the infamously closed company is opening up under Tim Cook in ways that seem subtle but are in fact profound. You can see this in the software—iOS 8 will allow unprecedented levels of extensibility, helping to answer key complaints about the platform—and in the hardware, where Tim Cook is not shy about following industry trends such as mini-tablets, phablets, and NFC/mobile payments.
I embrace this new Apple, and hope these trends continue to include such things as allowing app developers to link to their own stores without incurring the 30 percent Apple vig. And I (virtually) embrace Tim Cook for not simply parroting what Steve Jobs would have done.
In the coming weeks, I'll be reviewing iOS 8, the new iPhones, and, eventually the Apple Watch. I'll be writing about how and how well Microsoft's products and services run on these platforms, and will be comparing the integrated set of Apple platforms—iOS 8 plus OS X Yosemite, for example—to what's available now, and in the near future, on Microsoft's platforms. This isn't really new territory, per se. As I mentioned recently in Thinking About Platforms and Ecosystems, I've been writing about Microsoft's competitors for as long as I've been writing about Microsoft. But with Microsoft's solutions increasingly being pushed out to these rival platforms, there's much more to write about, and consider, these days. And the iPhone 6 is just a part of this ever-widening conversation.