Wednesday, July 16, 2008

1 Million iPhones Sold? Maybe Not

Earlier this week Apples press release boasted that they had reached 1 million sales for the new 3G iPhone, a number some analysts were quick to criticize. Gene Munster, a financial analyst at Piper Jaffray, had originally stated that he determined the actual amount of 3G iPhones sold as of Monday to measure less than 500,000.

Munster later revised his own analysis of the sales figures, according to Fortune he now acknowledges that "First weekend estimates exceeded our 425k estimate based on strength in international and improvement in activation process throughout the weekend."

Munster now estimates that 400,000 iPhones were sold in the United States, 250,000 in the United Kingdom and an average of 18,000 each in the other 19 countries. He now speculates that sales must have accelerated over the weekend as Apple cleared up its iTunes activation problems:
“We underestimated the number of phones sold per hour throughout the weekend and Apple’s recovery from activation issues. While we believe Friday’s 24 phones per hour is probably a close guess for Friday, the number likely increased significantly on Saturday and Sunday, well above our previous estimate of 28 phones per hour.”

So did Apple truly sale 1 million 3G iPhones? We can't be certain of that. Apple counts "sales" as any device it has sold to wireless network operators such as AT&T. The network operators then re-sell the devices to actual end users. Some of those 1 million phones that were shipped to Apple's partners might still be sitting unsold, we may never know.

As Steve Jobs said “iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend, It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world.”

Add in the second press release, where Apple announced that iPhone and iPod touch owners have downloaded more than 10 million applications from the App Store since it launched last week and Apple has had on hell of a week.

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