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Apple: iPhone 3G S Sells One Million Units In 3 Days

Gordon Kelly


Apple:  iPhone 3G S Sells One Million Units In 3 Days

Reaction to the incremental nature of the iPhone 3G S has been mixed. Reception to its pricing - O2 tariffs in particular - is nothing short of hostile. All of which inevitably made no difference as the new handset has sold by the bucket load anyway...

In an official press release Apple today confirmed more than one million iPhone 3G S found new homes between its launch on Friday and the end of trading on Sunday. Apple also said downloads of the major iPhone OS 3.0 firmware update had topped six million.

"Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning", said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "With over 50,000 applications available from Apple's revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever." And no, Jobs made no comment regarding the weekend's new reports about his health and return to Apple.

As for the sales figures themselves I think we need to be careful. On the surface they show the 3G S to have matched the breakaway performance of the iPhone 3G first weekend sales but context is important. Firstly, the iPhone went on wider simultaneous release this time around. Secondly, the Apple brand and App Store is more established. Thirdly, this generation brings a number of fundamental features seen to be lacking from previous models, notably the improved camera and added video recording.

Finally, the smartphone market itself is booming with far greater numbers of people now interested in handsets which do more than the basics.

Overall iPhone 3G S sales are still hugely impressive, just remember to consider the wider picture...

Update: Here's a linguistic quirk. Apple has today quietly dumped the space between '3G' and 'S' so it reads '3GS'. Makes more sense to us, but how odd. So '3GS' it is... for now.

Update 2: Apple has been in contact to correct me on one important point: the iPhone 3GS only simultaneously launched in eight countries compared to 21 for the 3G last year. As of 19 June, just the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland were selling the 3GS. Again, countering this are the fact these are by far the biggest markets for the iPhone and there were none of the widespread stock shortages reported which greatly curtailed early sales of the iPhone 3G. That said, this can only be seen as a good thing.


Press Release


June 22, 2009, 10:07 pm

The iPhone is well on track for World domination of the smartphone market, poor Windows Mobile, Poor Pre.

Ryan Fielder

June 22, 2009, 10:10 pm

What? The wider picture? Your 3 points don't make any sense. Yes the 2nd iphone 3G launch had a wider simultaneous release then the 3rd 3GS launch, but surely that just makes the 3rd 3GS launch even more impressive??? You other points imply that the only reason the 3GS sold so well is just because the software/hardware is so good. Well, that is not a bad thing to be considering in the "wider picture".


June 22, 2009, 10:16 pm

@Ryan - sorry Adam, your points make no sense.

"Yes the 2nd iphone 3G launch had a wider simultaneous release then the 3rd 3GS launch, but surely that just makes the 3rd 3GS launch even more impressive?"

No, if a handset is available in more countries but sells the same number it means demand in the primary countries was lower than before. Furthermore, all smartphones are selling MORE than they were 12 months ago as their market grows, by contrast the iPhone 3G S is selling the same as 12 months ago - even if those numbers are impressive.

By contrast Samsung has just announced the Jet (http://www.trustedreviews.c... - which I really dislike incidentally) has topped 2 million pre-orders. It's by no means an Apple dominated market yet...


June 22, 2009, 11:12 pm

Great handset, selling by the bucket load. Go figure!

Doc. Caliban

June 23, 2009, 1:29 am

Sadly, I have to wait and pay big bucks for an unlocked version because I live on a little island in the Caribbean.

Fortunately, however, I live on a little island in the Caribbean.


June 23, 2009, 2:29 am

Umm, stupid question about the Samsung Jet but how are those 2 million pre-orders made up? Is it customer orders, sorry, make that end user orders or is it the carriers ordering a few warehouses full in preparation for customer orders and filling orders from carphone warehouse, phones4u etc? Not nitpicking, just curious.

As for the iPhone, one thing I'd add to the list of things to be considered when comparing the 3G S launch to the 3G goes the other way though... the economy right now is a lot worse than it was back then and you've also got 3G owners who purchased after launch potentially having to wait to upgrade whereas the 1st gen lot could do so pretty much straight away.


June 23, 2009, 2:47 am

are most of the sales from the uk (where people seem to have more money than sense) or in the us (which seems to have much nicer pricings)?


June 23, 2009, 3:23 am

Nice figures if a bit fishy.

First of all, it hasn't sold a million in three days exactly if you take pre-orders into account. Secondly the eight countries mentioned account for about 80% of iPhone sales (the US has about 50% of them alone).

Still good numbers though and showing a high level of interest in the new model.

Ryan Fielder

June 23, 2009, 4:17 am

@ ilovethemonkeyhead

No, the iphone still works out cheaper in the UK. The initial costs are now almost identical between O2 an AT&T with the current exchange rate, but O2's £35 tariff is the same as AT&T's £45 ($75) tariff. So thats £240 cheaper in the UK over 24 months! Before AT&T's price cut they were much, much more expensive!

Ryan Fielder

June 23, 2009, 3:00 pm

@ Gordon

The new iphone was not available in more countries at launch this year, it was much less. 8 this year to 21 last year! But apple still sold the same number.


June 23, 2009, 6:04 pm

@ Doc. Caliban

Haha :) Lucky man!

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