There's a weird new battle brewing between Apple and Microsoft, and it has nothing to do with PC vs. Mac, iPod vs. Zune, or iPad vs. some mythical PC tablet that's never going to ship. No, this one has to do with the record books. And unlike many of the company's recent battles, it appears that this time, at least, Microsoft has gotten the better of Apple.
Last year, Apple claimed that the iPad was the fastest-selling consumer electronics product in history, a claim that was eagerly repeated by its many fans in blogs and mainstream news articles. But when Microsoft's Kinect add-on was released later in the year, it sold in even quicker numbers. And Microsoft was able to claim that it, not Apple, had the fastest-selling consumer electronics product in history.
Last week at the iPad announcement event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs curiously claimed, again, that the iPad was the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. And as if on cue, the company's supporters continued working Apple's PR-speak into their own articles. Just today, in fact, New York Times reviewer David Pogue, a long-time partisan Apple supporter, noted that the iPad was "the fastest-selling gadget in the history of electronics," mimicking Apple's own comments.
Unfortunately for Apple and Mr. Pogue, that claim is incorrect.
A day earlier, Microsoft announced that it had sold more than 10 million Kinect add-ons for the Xbox 360. But this is unrelated to the record, which involves the product's first two months on the market, a time span that ranges from the Kinect launch on November 4, 2010, until 60 days later, on January 3, 2011. Based solely on those sales figures, the Kinect is indeed the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in history. And this claim isn't made by Microsoft: It's been verified by Guinness World Records.
"Guinness World Records, the global authority on record breaking, today confirms that the Kinect for the Xbox 360 is the Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronics Device," the organization noted in its blog. "The hardware ... sold through an average of 133,333 units per day, for a total of eight million units in its first 60 days on sale from 4 November 2010 to 3 January 2011. The sales figures outstrip both the iPhone and the iPad for the equivalent periods after launch."
"The sales figures here speak for themselves," Gaz Deaves, Editor of Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer's Edition, said. "We can confirm that no other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span—an incredible achievement considering the strength of the sector."
There is one bit of good news for Apple, however: With the iPad 2 launching later this week, the company has another chance at the crown. And if the pre-release speculation is any indication, it may just have a shot at unseating Kinect. Stay tuned.