Apple sold 5 million phones over the weekend, which might sound like a pretty indisputable record-breaking number, but it's not. Turns out that figure can mean a lot of things. Sure, we know the facts: Apple sold 5 million phones in three days and that is more than the 4 million sold during last year's iPhone 4S debut. But dig a little into the statistic and things quickly get murky. Is selling 5 million phones a success? No. Then, was this phone was a failure? The answer is also no. Let us count all the ways people are spinning those iPhone 5 sales numbers. 

  • It missed analysts estimates.
  • Thus: Apple "magic" is gone. 
  • Did Apple really sell 5 million phones, anyway? That number could be too low.
  • No matter, this 3 day metric isn't meaningful—it's the 3 month mark that matters. 
  • Actually, sales figures mean nothing at all.

Maybe we can just all agree that corporations are complex and thus cannot be explained by one simple number.