Apple’s iPhone 5 success tainted by inferior new map

Numbers don’t lie and from all accounts Apple’s iPhone 5 toppled sales for iPhone 4S release launched nearly a year ago. In just three days after its launch on September 21, Apple has sold over five million of its new iPhone 5, and more than 100 million iOS devices have been updated with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iPhone 5 is available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK, and will be available in 22 more countries on September 28 and more than 100 countries by the end of the year. Demand for iPhone 5 exceeded the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders have been shipped to customers, many are scheduled to be shipped in October.

Though success of Apple’s iPhone 5 has exceeded supply, some critics say its success is tainted by an inferior new map.

“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”

Due to the competition between the two corporations, Apple replaced Google Maps with its own maps feature, and many users said the new Maps is noticeably inferior. Chief complaints: wrong directions and the lack of local transit information. Twitter hashtags (used to help in searches) started popping up this weekend: #Mapsgate, #Mapocalypse and #Thanksapple as folks talked about their bad experiences online. Apple says it’s “just getting started” with Maps and that the app will improve as more people use it. But of course that’s not an answer customers want to hear.

On the other hand, the iPhone is offered for sale with three carriers — AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint — and isn’t supposed to be interchangeable among their separate networks. But the Verizon version of the iPhone 5 works on AT&T’s network, as well, the Associated Press discovered. The AP found that a Verizon iPhone 5 accepts an AT&T “SIM card” — a chip that identifies a phone to a network. The phone can then be active on AT&T’s network. That is, if you can find an iPhone5 for sale.

Calls to stores in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, reported sell-outs for Verizon and AT&T iPhones. A handful of iPhones with Sprint service were available on Sunday. One Apple store in Philadelphia had a handful of Sprint phones with 64 gigabytes of storage available. That device sells for $399 with a two-year contract, up from the entry-level $199 with 16 GB of storage and a two-year contract.

AT&T phones were the first to sell out, in part because the carrier was the first to sell the original iPhone when it launched in 2007. Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in February 2011, and Sprint joined in with the iPhone 4S in October 2011, so AT&T customers were the most likely to be ready for a contract upgrade.

“The reality is, because of the supply, they could have sold more,” says PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster. “They ran out faster than we thought they would.”

On Monday, the company said only that “stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”

“We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone,” Cook said in Apple’s press release.

Stores contacted on Sunday said they expected more shipments Monday. But Munster says it will be “weeks” before customers can walk into a store and find an iPhone 5 on the shelf.

Apple’s website promises shipments delivered in 3-4 weeks. The carriers — AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — offer similar shipment dates on their websites: 21 to 28 business days.

Apple first made the new iPhone 5 available for pre-order more than a week ago but quickly sold out the initial shipment. The company reported early pre-order sales of 2 million.

iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina™ display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology—all while delivering even better battery life.

In the lead up to release Apple share values soared to an unprecedented $700, peaking at $701 and closing at $699.78. Since January, shares in Apple shares have climbed 73 per cent.

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