FORTUNE -- Can you spot what's wrong with this picture?
Apple (AAPL) on Monday announced first weekend sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C. They "topped" 9 million. Wall Street was expecting 5 to 6 million. Big surprise, egg on faces. Estimates revised. Price points raised.
Then the second-guessing began. How solid, some analysts asked, were those 9 million sales?
Coming to Apple's defense was Goldman Sach's Bill Shope, who saw a "significant upside" in those 9 million iPhones. He made several points:
Arguing from yet another side, The Core's Matt Lew points out that Apple's 9 million figure does not include any of the iPhones -- tens of millions of them, he estimates -- that were ordered online but have not yet been delivered. Lew agrees that 9 million distorts the picture, but from the other direction, making sales look lower than they are.
Here's what's strikes me as strange about all this: No other smartphone manufacturer's sales figures are subjected to this kind of scrutiny.
Take, for example, Samsung. You won't see analysts questioning Samsung's unit sales numbers for the Galaxy S3 or S4. Nobody writes notes to clients asking what percentage of those sales were sell-in or sell-through.
Samsung doesn't get this kind of scrutiny because it doesn't tell anybody -- not analysts, not investors, not the SEC -- how many smartphones it sells.
And that's what's wrong with this picture.
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