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LAST WEEKEND, 5 million iPhone 5s were sold--a record for the device. This after a record of 2 million in pre-order sales. In both cases, iPhone 5 stocks sold out.
But analysts considered this a disappointment, because there had been a projection of 6 to 10 million in sales in the first weekend. Apple stock prices dropped, probably because expectations were impossibly high, and also perhaps because of the fact that a great Google Maps app was dumped and replaced by a terrible new iOS 6 map app.
You can't sell what you don't have. Bloomberg reports that Apple couldn't get enough of the new displays for the iPhone 5 because Sharp wasn't able to begin production in time.
In the past, Apple has been accused of creating artificial "shortages" to stoke the hype. Nobody's saying that now.
Anecdotally, at the Southpoint AT&T store in Spotsylvania County, salespeople said the line was only half as long for the iPhone 5 when the store opened on Sept. 21 as it had been for the iPhone 4S. There were 15 people in line at 8 a.m. and customers were still able to pick up the high-end 64 GB iPhone 5 around 3 p.m. Of course, there are dozens of stores in the area that were selling it. In other places around the country, there were long lines and stocks were depleted very quickly.
The question is whether the thrill is gone.
I don't think so.
I have an iPhone 5, and when I show it to people, there's more of a "wow" factor than ever. Their eyes pop because it's so thin and light and beautiful, and because the pictures it shoots are amazing. It takes great shots in low light, and has a cool new panorama mode. Its Siri virtual assistant remains a work in progress, but is better and sassier than ever. It's also a better phone than ever, with improved call quality and fewer dropped calls on AT&T, even in areas with weak signals.
Apple should return to Google navigation until its own app is ready. Google revealed this week that Apple hasn't asked, so it hasn't started work on an app for the iPhone 5. Ask, please.
A little advice for Apple from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."
I've been using the iPhone 5 for a week and it's a wonderful smart phone. But if you depend on its maps app, you may never be seen again. Google navigation gives the Samsung Galaxy S III an edge over the iPhone 5 for now.
To paraphrase JFK, let us never navigate out of fear, but let us never fear to navigate.