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iPhone 3G S: 1M Served in Opening Weekend

iPhone3GS-2While the tech blogging community may have made much of the Palm (s palm) Pre’s potential ability to take on the iPhone 3G, the world at large didn’t seem to be aware of any competition, since they went ahead and purchased a staggering 1 million 3G S phones over launch weekend. Compare that to the Pre’s estimated 50,000 opening weekend unit sales. Of course, the iPhone launched worldwide, not just in the U.S., but the disparity is still telling.

I was surprised at the figure, considering the fact that I waited in line Friday with only maybe 10 other people, and the store I was at had at least 20 units in stock. Also, when I visited two different area Apple Stores during the next two days, Apple (s aapl) employees reported that stock levels were still very high, and that the launch was not nearly as crazy as they’d expected, with little to no lines, and no initial sell-outs of stock.

Maybe this is a credit to Apple’s ability to better plan this launch based on their experience with previous generations of hardware, or maybe it’s just an indication that the Canadian public wasn’t impressed with the concessions Rogers and Fido made for existing customers. Many 3G owners I talked to over the weekend, including two Apple Geniuses, said that they’d decided the improvements weren’t enough to merit a pricey upgrade.

Last year, the 3G also sold 1 million units in its opening weekend, but customers weren’t able to pre-order the device, which could account for the smaller lines on launch day. Apple’s stock rose on news of the sales figures, though at the time of this writing it has dropped back down. And that’s despite having as strong a launch this year as the 3G did last year in 21 countries, whereas the 3G S was only available for sale in eight this past weekend, which puts Apple on track for even more impressive numbers as the new handset becomes available in more markets.

23 Responses to “iPhone 3G S: 1M Served in Opening Weekend”

  1. Tom Kite

    Do the maths. Avg iphones sold among the 8 countries is 125,000 per country.

    As the US is by far the most highly populated of the 8 countries it is probably OK to guess that even more were sold there.

    I can safely guess the iphone 3G S sold more than double the pre’s 50,000 on the opening weekend.

  2. Fair point regarding the availability of the 3G S only in 8 countries. I stand corrected on the numbers.

    Still, I think a US to US comparison would be the most appropriate when talking about how dismal a failure the Pre is. :)

  3. MobileMe

    @ Brian Hogg, these are just 3G S numbers, they do not include iPhone 3G. All in all its 8 countries, and my guess is that the bulk of the sales are AT&T, At&T’s numbers for Jan suggests as much (i.e. big contibutor to total iPhone sales).

  4. The iPhone is available in 88 countries, which if you were to even out per country (not terribly accurate, I realize, as each country has a different customer base), you’d get 11,636 per country. If the Pre is available only in the US, then that means that the Pre has well outsold the iPhone in the US.

    A more appropriate Pre/iPhone comparison would be to get the US-specific sales figure for the phone, I should think.

    (I’m not doing an anti-iPhone screed, I’ll eventually get a 3GS and I’m looking forward to getting one for my wife, but I’ve just come from reading Techcrunch, where they’re doing their own wacky sales-figure comparison, which is annoying.)

    • The 3G S is only available in 8 countries yet, more than the Pre for sure, but far from all 88.

      The countries are
      United States
      United Kingdom

  5. here’s what I think will happen. Ok, everyone who just got a new iPhone 3gs has the latest iPhone, right? Ok. Now when the next one comes out, all of us who just have the 3g will be able to get it because we are no longer prisoners of “the contract” but iPhone 3gs owners will be hahahahah

    • Jennifer

      I just upgraded at the best price on Friday and was informed by AT&T that I will qualify again next year, too. So I don’t think those of us who upgraded will necessarily be hurting. ;)