Blog Post

Apple's iLaunch Outshines AT&T

If you actually stepped into one of the hectic Apple or AT&T stores this weekend for the iPhone launch, it was pretty clear the debut was an Apple event first and foremost. Down at the Emeryville Bay Street Mall in the east bay, where there is an Apple store on one side of a street and a AT&T store on the other, the line for the Apple store was over double the size of the line outside of the AT&T store.

And the preliminary numbers are matching that casual observance. Bloomberg quotes Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with San Francisco-based Global Equities Research, who says Apple stores sold an estimated 128,000 iPhones on the first day, while AT&T stores sold 72,000. Not bad for either company, but it’s clear who holds the buzz card.

The LA Times quotes Chowdhry as saying AT&T didnt seem to have expected such a high demand and had insufficient technical staff on hand. The Times says many AT&T stores sold out by Saturday. For the weekend, analysts are already predicting that the iPhone sold anywhere from 500,000 to 525,000 to 700,000 (update).

A lot of the iPhone excitement from the perspective of industry-watchers is how Apple’s cell phone will fundamentally change the wireless business. Apple’s dominance of the iPhone launch is a good knock at the carrier-controlled wireless industry model.

Though of course AT&T is getting a good boost from iPhone madness too. John Hodulik of UBS Research believes that any gains by AT&T will be Sprint’s loss. He believes that iPhone will help AT&T gain share in postpaid gross adds and “Sprint Nextel will see some loss of postpaid gross add share” in the second half of 2007. He cut his post paid adds estimates for Sprint from 580,000 to 120,000.

7 Responses to “Apple's iLaunch Outshines AT&T”

  1. William

    This is an Apple device, which means that Apple is going to control its inventory production and distribution. They sent more inventory to the Apple stores on launch and as stated above the Apple Stores could sell TWO to each person versus AT&T’s One. Mind you on launch day when most of the phones were sold Apple stores stayed open two more hours than the AT&T stores. Let’s face it, this was a Mac Fan event and why not go to the place where Mac Fans are.

    AT&T’s Mac experience woos come from the fact that they should have hired some of their temporary staff sooner. If the AT&T store hired correctly , then there would be a “Mac Genius” standing right by their Iphone display. Those temporary employees called Product Pros should allow for a quality Iphone experience when visiting stores. I’m not sure if this was the case nationwide.

    Now that the Mac Fans got their Iphones, it will be interesting to see who can actually “sell” the phone to new customers. Those non Mac Fans who will be looking at the individual devices and making a choice for their own needs. It is my personal belief that by the end of 2007 AT&T will have easily sold more Iphones then the Apple Stores, especially when initial demand is gone.

  2. I think the question Steve has to be asking right about now is, “What else about this deal will it be possible for AT&T to bungle?”

    After three days of happy iPhone use, the only possible complaints I have relate to the AT&T aspects of the experience, particularly EDGE. My purchase, too – at the main SF Apple Store, early Saturday – was so quick as to be anticlimactic.

    By contrast, when a friend walked into an AT&T outlet yesterday at noon, he was met with indifference, ignorance, and a general air of buzzkill.

    And “didn’t expect such a high level of demand” is just awesome. The most anticipated, most innovative mobile device in history, and AT&T “didn’t expect such a high level of demand.” That just about says it all right there.

  3. The fact that more iPhones were sold at Apple than at AT&T stores doesn’t mean Apple has the power. These are just early adopters and Apple fanatics. If iPhone is to take off, the majority of sales hvae to be to normal people who don’t live in cities or ultra-fancy parts of the world like Paolo Alto and Santa Monica.

  4. Against my better judgement, I opted for the AT&T line. Despite it being 1/3 the length of the Apple Store line, only allowing one to be purchased and having few if any accessories, I finally got out of line and went to Apple where I walked right up and bought two in about 10 minutes.

    AT&T unfortunately sucks and its decision to go with “AT&T” instead of “Cingular” was a major bone-headed mistake.

  5. indeed the Apple store experience was better for me (downtown SF store) than the local AT&T store. On the other hand, the downtown Apple Store alone probably had phones than all the AT&T stores in SF combined so I’m not really surprised that they sold a lot more phones that way.

    I went Friday night at 8pm, I spent more time looking for a cab home than I spent in the Apple store. not a bad experience at all!