Blog Post

10 Million iPhones in 2008: How?

Granted, the iPhone gets a lot of news any day of the week, but today the New York Times, Ars Technica, and Information Week are all raining on Apple’s parade, claiming that Jobs’ prediction of 10 million iPhones in 2008 was way beyond the mark. Macworld steps in with an article showing how it is nearly impossible that Apple won’t sell 10 Million iPhones.

What does Apple need to do to meet that lofty goal. Here are three things that will almost ensure 10 million units:

  • Release it, STAT! – All the empty stock is only hurting their chances of selling more phones.
  • Reduce the price – $400 or $500 is too much. Many people can’t see themselves spending that much when it is entirely possible to get a phone for much less. Shoot for the subsidized price of $149 and $249. It would be hard to pass up if it is less than $250.
  • Open the App store at WWDC – After building up our hopes earlier this year, don’t dash them again. Make the iPhone a need, and not just a want.

3G and GPS are great features that would certainly make the phone better, but they will not carry the phone to 10 million units sold in this year. What else will be a deal-maker for you?

27 Responses to “10 Million iPhones in 2008: How?”

  1. There is much hype about the iPhone and it’s overtaking of current business smartphone king, Blackberry, but any talk of Blackberry’s demise in this arena is overstated and foolish.

    For business, the Blackberry is superior. I don’t care about integrations with Microsoft Exchange or other IT concerns. I’m talking about the end-user experience.

    If my business required that I listen to music, watch YouTube videos, or check the weather in Palo Alto, the iPhone would be my choice for sure. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t figure into my daily job routine and so I have to do real work and that, for good or bad, means lots of emailing with clients, prospects, magazine editors, my teammates, etc.

    And when it comes to email, the Blackberry is the indisputed heavyweight champion of the world. And to me the iPhone is the Ivan Drago of business mobile phones.

    Ivan Drago (played by Dolph “I will break you” Lundgren) was the brick-eating Russian boxer of Rocky IV. He was younger, faster, stronger, quicker than anyone and everyone or at least the hype said so. He killed Apollo Creed in the movie and was anointed the next big thing. He then met his match in Rocky and as a result, Drago was sent packing to Siberia.

    When it comes to business smartphones, the iPhone is no different than Drago. It will likely have killed some other past their prime players like Apollo (are Palm and Treo still around?), but when it goes head to head against Blackberry, the iPhone has met its Rocky.

    Ok – I’ve dragged this metaphor on for too long. But you get the point.

    Here’s my argument based on a sample size of 1. Why do people use business smartphones? For email. And Blackberry is very good at this on many fronts. It makes me more productive because I can type about 8 times as fast on a Blackberry as the iPhone I currently have.

    It’s because RIMM’s blackberry has keys which I can touch/feel as I type and that makes writing emails quicker and more accurate. Tactility (that a word?) is a good thing. It increases my productivity. Productivity helps our clients. Clients are happy. I am happy. Blackberry wins round 1.

    The iPhone (almost daily) says it cannot validate my email credentials and so when on the road, there are moments when I cannot get my emails. This is mildly irritating at best and stressful at worst. Blackberry went down occasionally (every couple months) so I could bear it. The iPhone service hasn’t gone down because my personal emails still come through but it has some problem getting to my work emails. I never had to think about this with my Blackberry. Blackberry wins round 2.

    I could probably find the answer to this validate issue on some forum, but instead of wasting my time there, I’m going to start shopping around for a new Blackberry.

  2. JessiRed



  3. Edgewater Joe

    Simple: get rid of that damn exclusive with AT&T. I want to rid myself of them on my land line — I don’t want to go even more in hock with them for the iPhone.

    Oh, and maybe make it operable with XM or Sirius. I know it’s a bit antithetical if the thing is both a phone and WiFi, but to be able to get Stern or baseball live and portable would be a big perk for me.

  4. With a minimum $60 per month AT&T Plan, the iPhone is obscenely expensive when everything is considered.

    I don’t think it’s obscenely expensive at all. A regular phone plan is $40 with no data access. For $20, you get unlimited data and 200 text messages. Most smartphone/PDA plans are $30-40 for unlimited use.

  5. AlexK

    What everyone seems to have forgotten that Apple stated explicitly at their March quarter financial call that they *underestimated* demand for the iPhone and did expect to sell *less* than 1.7 million iPhones between Jan-Mar.

    Apple is already *ahead* of their plan to reach 10 million in 2008!

    That’s why is iPhone 1G stock running out. Demand most probably was steady in the US in April and May and Europe saw subsidies that pushed the sales.

    The 1st generation iPhone most likely is discontinued with the release of the 2nd gen, so Apple ordered as many units as they thought could sell up to that date. Those are now (since at least the beginning of may) nearly *sold out* obviously, and Apple does not do large orders of 1G iPhones any more, if any, because they concentrate on the ramp up of 2G production.

    Apple will now try to push out the 2G iPhone asap to keep the momentum, but all that will only help them to reach the 10 million mark even more early.

    just 2ct
    Ciao, Alex

    ps: my own estimate after the Q1 results was for the next quarters, resp: 1.8-2.0, 2.0-2.5 and 4.5-5.5 million (=total 2008 10.0-11.7 mio.), I’ll see if I make a good analyst ;-)

  6. Preston

    umm, i think we have all forgotten that 60 countries are just signed on to sell the 3G phone. And if China signs on… there are 2 billion potential customers. Let’s wait till after this summer to say that apple can’t make the 10 million mark. We don’t even know what their selling point will be for the new phone, other than 3G.

  7. Synthmeister

    Apple has already done or in the process of doing everything it needs to do to sell 10 million units:

    1. iPhone SDK/appStore
    2. 3G/GPS
    3. Quadruple the potential market with over 60 new countries coming online.
    4. MS Exchange support

    Price drop or no, they will sell 10 million buy year’s end. (I do hope the price drops, cause I intend to buy one when my Verizon contracts expires in August.) I doubt any iPhone will sell less than $299 before 2009 though—they are simply selling too well.

    BTW, Jim, you don’t need an iPhone, more like a rumored iPhoneNano.

  8. William

    10 million is a no brainer. All they need to do to sell 10 million is make 10 million. I’ve got the current iPhone and I love it. I don’t doubt for a second that the new model will have something I won’t be able to resist. My wife will become the owner of the current iPhone, ain’t I nice?

  9. CDMA radio, but I’m not holding my breath. Sorry, the iPhone could cure cancer, but if it doesn’t have a CDMA radio, it WON’T WORK AT ALL where I live and work – no sale.

  10. Price is what is holding it back right now. With a minimum $60 per month AT&T Plan, the iPhone is obscenely expensive when everything is considered. It’s not that it’s not a great deal (unlimited data, etc.) – but unless you do a LOT of text messaging, email and surfing on the go, the plan itself is enough to keep you from buying an iPhone.

    A cheaper iPhone will help take the bite out of the AT&T plan, but they really need to come up with a “lower end” monthly plan as well. I don’t text message, I don’t surf a lot on the go, I check email 2 or 3 times a day max. I don’t need unlimited data. Lower the monthly plan to $40-$45 per month and I’ll buy.

  11. I think Apple will sell 10 million iPhones in 2008, but that is not what Jobs said at the Keynote in January 2007. He said they would sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. That would include the sales in 2007 as well.

  12. Singeo

    You realise that the 3G phone when available will be selling outside the US? I’m with Ian, 10 milion’s a no brainer or I’ll eat my slippers….

  13. Galley

    I didn’t pick up an iPhone until April, because I was waiting for my Sprint contract to end. I’m sure there are millions of others out there waiting on the same thing. The $250 convinced me to make the switch and not wait for the 2G iPhone. At that time I wasn’t sure it would be released in the U.S. until the fall, but now it appears that it will be.

  14. Apple seems to go for blackberry with the new phone but what makes the blackberry so good?

    1: I don’t have to check the mail. Blackberry tells me when i have mail: No little number on the icon… because i already know i have 234 unread mails…. But I still have to go and check if i have new ones every time… (I can’t memorize every time the little red number 234, 234, 236 on the mail icon… it’s stupid).

    Blackberry has a very very useful and “addictive” light that blinks red EVERY TIME i recieve a new mail since the last time i went in my mail inbox. Simple, silly but very effective and useful.

    2: Blackberry internet service works out of the box for small business and consumers. No microsoft exchange, no .mac $99 subscribtion over the already expensive plan. I get push email included.

    3: Push email is REALLY pushed on the phone, and it’s not the phone checking every x seconds like iphone does now with the yahoo mail. This way battery life is not affected by push services. How do blackberry do this? Simple, the phone operator pairs your physical phone to the blackberry service via IMEI number…

    In this way blackberry does all it’s push applications. You can have a google talk always open on blackberry in push mode and battery life still is not affected because everything is “pushed” on the phone when needed.

    4: Make ONE ONLY inbox where I can check all my messages. Blackberry has it. Its useful.

    5: Blackberry messenger? it’s there, it works via push. Apple should put ichat. Maybe make it work only between iphone users like blackberry does, and not only via wifi.

    Also, other things I think apple should do:

    1: make it plastic. Not metal, not glass. plastic. simple easy. colour. nano docet….

    2: Get out of your black “scientology” tee shirts. One day some cool guy will come out with some cool product and he will not accept your job offers…. cina is getting closer and easier.


  15. Well, Apple is about the quadruple (or more) its potential customer base for the iPhone. With 67 countries already on board, plus a couple more really big ones likely to sign on, I’d be hard-pressed to say they don’t make it. And that’s on top of 3G, GPS, new Apple apps, 3rd-party apps, and the big Sep-Dec holiday quarter.

    And like you said, if they drop the price (or subsidize it), it will become even more irresistable.

  16. Wayne

    And the nay-sayers are looking at this year’s sales so far, which obviously does NOT include back-to-school or Christmas sales, the largest of the year. I think Apple’s letting the iPhone channel dry up now because they’re totally focused on the end-of-year and don’t mind losing some sales now in order to make it then. (Not to mention that anyone with a clue is not buying iPhones now when they know that a newer model is coming out in a month or two.)

  17. Got to say I’m with the MacWorld post. I can’t see how Apple will shift less than 10 million units this year. Most of the nay-sayers I’ve seen have been staggeringly US-centric. One of the biggest factors that’s certain to boost sales is that it’s finally gonna be available in more than a small handful of countries. And the lack of 3G has led to huge numbers of potential buyers in Europe holding off, since EDGE networking is almost non-existent here while 3G coverage is near universal and much, much faster.

    If they fail to pass the 10 mil mark this year, I’ll eat my own shoes.

  18. As much as I love Apple, even with a significant price drop I don’t see how they can meet the goal of 10 million iPhones sold in 2008. With gas and food prices so high I think people are prioritizing more and a new sleek phone is not on the list. At least not on my list.