Apple's iPhone 12 'supercycle' may be happening after all, new data shows

Counterpoint Research data finds the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro beat out all other 5G phones in October.

Ian Sherr Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. At CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

Apple's newest iPhones hit big with customers.

Angela Lang/CNET

Apple's iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models posted strong enough sales during the their Oct. 23 launch that they became the first and second best-selling 5G phone models worldwide, new data shows. The sales tallies, from Counterpoint Research, indicated that Apple's initial two iPhone 12 models tallied an estimated 24% of all 5G phone sales for October.

"There is a large pent-up demand for 5G upgrade, especially within the iOS base, which is now getting converted into sales," Counterpoint analyst Varun Mishra wrote in a Monday blog post about the data. He noted that promotions from carriers, which pushed the device's price down from a $799 starting price to zero in many cases, accounted for over a third of iPhone 12 sales for the month. 

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Samsung's Galaxy Note Ultra 5G, which launched with a $1,300 price tag, was pegged as the third-best-selling phone, followed by devices made by Chinese brands Huawei and Oppo , which aren't broadly available in the US.

Apple, which doesn't report unit sales for iPhones anymore, declined to comment.

Counterpoint's data is the latest sign that Apple's iPhone 12 line of smartphones have been well received by early customers, despite their delay of several weeks. CNET's Patrick Holland said the iPhone 12 received one of the highest ratings ever in his review of the device, saying the more capable cameras, new MagSafe magnetized-accessories feature and 5G were among its the things he liked the most.

Apple launched its four iPhone 12 models in waves, selling the $799 iPhone 12 and more capable $999 iPhone 12 Pro in October, and the smaller $699 iPhone 12 Mini and larger $1099 iPhone 12 Pro Max in November. Now, more than a month after the first iPhone 12 models went on sale, some of the headsets are back-ordered until January, according to Apple's website.

Apple is expected to report is fiscal first-quarter sales in January, during which it'll share holiday revenue data and likely other details about how the iPhone 12's performed so far.

See also: iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max vs. iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max: Specs and features

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