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.