Apple 2.0

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Apple's iPhone 5S is outselling the 5C by 2 to 1. Or is it 3 to 1?

October 14, 2013: 8:40 AM ET

Dueling reports Monday on how much better the high-end model is doing than the low.

Source: Mixpanel. Click to enlarge.

Source: Mixpanel. Click to enlarge.

Source: CIRC

Source: CIRC

FORTUNE -- When the iPhone 5S and 5C went on sale last month, there was every reason to suspect that the more advanced 5S would draw more early adopters to the Apple (AAPL) stores than the 5C. And indeed, by one launch-day line count, the iPhone 5S buyers outnumbered 5C buyers that first day by 20 to 1.

Have iPhone 5C sales picked up since then? A widely circulated report out of China last week suggested that Apple had cut 5C production in half, from 300,000 units per day to 150,000.

Now we have dueling reports on how much better the iPhone 5S is doing than the 5C.

  • According to Consumer Intelligence Research Parters, the 5S is outselling the 5C by roughly 2 to 1 in the U.S.
  • According to Mixpanel, which counts actions within apps from around the world, not just the U.S., the ratio is more like 3 to 1.

"Over time, the lower-priced phones have tended to gain share versus the flagship phone, after the initial rush of dedicated upgraders to the newest device," CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz told AllThingsD"So we expect that the 5c will account for a higher percent of total U.S. iPhone sales in the coming months, but the design changes may alter that dynamic. The iPhone 5c may appeal to different buyers than the legacy 4S did last year, or the new 5s will this year."

UPDATE:  The plot thickens. Localytics, which says it samples more than 20,000 apps on a billion devices, offers a third set of statistics. They show the iPhone 5S outselling the iPhone 5C by three to one in U.S. and five to one in the rest of the world. The specific ratios (as of Monday):

The World:
72% (5s) to 28% (5c)
US Only:
68% (5s) to 32% (5c)
Ex US:
79% (5s) to 21% (5c)
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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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