iPhone 3G S expectations: 500,000 units sold over the weekend

iPhone 3G S expectations: 500,000 units sold over the weekend

Summary: With Apple's iPhone 3G S hitting stores on Friday analysts are starting to guess how many units will be sold over the weekend. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is guessing Apple will sell 500,000 iPhone 3G S units over the weekend, that's half of what the iPhone 3G did over three days last year.


With Apple's iPhone 3G S hitting stores on Friday analysts are starting to guess how many units will be sold over the weekend. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is guessing Apple will sell 500,000 iPhone 3G S units over the weekend, that's half of what the iPhone 3G did over three days last year.

In a research note (Techmeme), Munster wrote:

Apple will begin selling the new iPhone 3G S in 8 countries. We expect Apple to sell 500k iPhone 3G S units over the weekend. This would compare to 1m iPhone 3G units in the launch weekend last year, and 270k units in the original iPhone launch weekend. Several factors lead us to believe Apple will sell less iPhone 3G S's at launch than it did for the iPhone 3G including a less dramatic change in value proposition and fewer available countries at launch.

Here's Munster's launch comparisons:

Here's why Munster is expecting less drama:

  • The iPhone 3G S will run you $199 just like it's predecessor. The 3G launch introduced a better phone at half the price of the previous model.
  • The iPhone 3G launched in 21 countries compared to the 8 that will feature the 3G S.

Munster's forecast is a bit lower than other prognostications. RBC estimates Apple ships 500,000 to 700,000 iPhone 3G S units the first weekend.
In other words, the iPhone 3G S ramp will be slower that its predecessor, but still deliver sales as more countries are rolled out. And relative to the Pre launch the Apple iPhone 3G S should win the unit wars easily.

More reading:

Matthew Miller: iPhone OS 3.0 update fails connecting to cellular data network

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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  • iPhone 3G service wide area outage / interruption

    June 18, 2009: iPhone 3G and Edge network went completely down at approx 1:00 AM EST. I called AT&T Support first thing this morning (approx 9am EST) and they reported being UNAWARE of any issues but would call me back shortly after investigating. I received a follow-up call at approx 10:30am EST and the support tech admitted to a "WIDE AREA OUTAGE reaching all over Northern Florida".

    There is much suspicion amongst iPhone 3G users that AT&T purposefully disengaged service to allow greater service response from iPhone 3GS users thereby showing off their new "2x faster" network.

    Interestingly, my fellow colleagues who are also on AT&T?s 3G network ... using a non-iPhone device ... have not experienced an interruption in 3G service all the while.

    Anyone else seeing this issue, within or outside of Florida?
    • Well before I hand you a tin foil hat, I would like to ask...

      [i]" my fellow colleagues who are also on AT&T?s 3G network ... using a non-iPhone device ... have not experienced an interruption in 3G service all the while"[/i]

      Was he on his phone last night at 1am as well? Or as I suspect in bed? Even still, does he use the same cellular tower as you? All this does make a difference. I would most likely say that the outage may have been local to you and whatever tower you were using probably had routine maintainence done, which never gets reported to the subs (like it should) and definately not told to the CS reps.

      So take this roll of tin foil and make a nice hat! That last one seems to be failing you.
  • Weekend sales will be down...

    I think Munster is right about the company selling fewer iphone 3G S units on opening weekend, compared to the iPhone 3G's opening weekend - but for another reason.

    Apple upgrades the iPhone about once a year but the AT&T contract in the U.S. is a two-year commitment. Of sure, AT&T has tweaked the upgrade pricing for some early adopters but there are still plenty of the Apple faithful who will sit at home this weekend and only dream of a new iPhone because they're tied down by that blasted contract.

    Sure, some people will pay whatever it takes to get their hands on a new iPhone - even if it means paying full price for it and re-signing that contract for another two years. But many others will not - at least not on opening weekend.
    • I'm Not Getting It

      I updated my 3G with the 3.0 OS...I'm happy with what I have, and am not going to commit to another 2 years with AT&T. I'm waiting to see what other providers are going to get the IPhone...

      Verizon is working on making their network compatible with the IPhone, so I'm going to sit and wait...my contract is up anyway.
    • I agree. Consider all new iPhone3GS sales a NEW user. 6 month wait for me!

      Then I'll get the 3GS and the renewed 2 year contract. Thank goodness I can upgrade after only 18 months.

      iPhone Rocks! I had a BBPearl before and would never consider a Microsoft WinMobile devices (my name tells you why).

      I read today in Business Week that the iPhone is eating Microsoft for lunch. I have to agree. Sorry NonZealot. Your employer just doesn't get it!
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • Are these number real?

    Or have apple fudged them by counting handsets promised to carriers as being sold like they did with the iphone?
    • You mean like how Microsoft counts a product shipped to a store as a sale?

      Apple doesn't do that. They only count product sold in exchange for money. Very different from the Microsoft FUD.
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • Dear Apple,

    First of all, a great big attaboy/girl for the 3.0 upgrade. It went
    very smoothly for me. And I like most of the new features. I'm
    especially happy that you got the Stopwatch app right on the
    third try. You know what i mean. I also like the added info in
    the phone's Recents and Voice Mail lists very much. Good job!

    But since 3.0 is out, it's time to start the wish list for 4.0. Here
    are a couple things I'd like to see:

    1) Put the Bluetooth on/off control on the top-level Settings
    menu (like wi-fi control is now) instead of buried in the General

    2) Add a switch in Settings to disable/enable cut-and-paste. I
    know, I know--the world has been drooling for this wondrous
    feature (and NonZealot is wetting himself with happiness
    because everyone else beat you to it), but, really, it gets in the
    way more often than it helps--especially on web pages. I
    appreciate that this feature is very difficult to implement
    elegantly with a touch interface, but when you intentionally
    want to Copy something on a web page (as opposed to having
    it pop up unintentionally a lot), trying to drag those little blue
    balls around the Copy area is like trying to grab a greased pig.
    Maybe there's a technique to this that I haven't mastered yet.

    Anyway, I'm sure the new added goodies will attract many new
    customers for the iPhone. Congrats!


    • Wow, mustn't mention WindowsMobile in iPhone blogs!!

      No personal attacks, only a response to something Userama mentioned about it being difficult to implement copy and paste.

      Of course the moderators will allow hordes of Apple users to vandalize Windows blogs with "Get a Mac". I report those as spam and they don't get deleted.


      Edit: Thank you to the moderators. I hope this is the beginning of a better ZDNet experience for those of us who dare to use a product not made by Apple.
      • Crazyness! Microsoft is the preferred title in ZDNet blogs.

        Maybe you are getting sour that Apple is taking the lead in REAL purchasing power (i.e. consumers) instead of DEFAULT purchasing power (i.e. OEM computers).

        It's time that users and buyers understand THEY HAVE THE POWER! A power that Microsoft tries with limited success to control.

        Bye bye now! Even YOU, Mr. Microsoft NonZealot, want to and WILL buy an Apple iPhone. Sorry if this makes you think different!
        No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Funny thing is, Gates wants an iPhone as well.

          Hubby just won't let her get one (nor the kids).

          Now that is rich:-) Only one person in the Gates family wants to use
          Windows Mobile devices.
  • I predict closer to 1 million sales over weekend...

    Here's why I think the iPhone sales this weekend are going to beat the projections of half a million:

    1. Many of us who bought the original iPhone on the first weekend are now past our contracts. We get the lower price on the 3GS than we would have on the 3G. Plus, there just weren't enough feature differences between the original and the 3G to warrant spending the money. Having GPS without turn-by-turn was nearly pointless. The "faster" download speeds of 3G were only minimally faster and the 3G service was very spotty in general until recently.

    2. Many people have been holding off upgrading their other brand phones until the release of both the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3GS. They've had a chance to look at the Palm Pre before this weekend. Now, they'll get to see the iPhone 3GS. I think quite a few will choose the iPhone over the Pre just for the App Store selection.

    3. Documents to Go was just released for the iPhone and not only does it work great for editing Word docs, but it supports Exchange attachments, and it's dirt cheap in the App Store. If you don't have it, get it. Excel editing is a free upgrade coming soon.

    4. Excellent graduation gifts for recent graduates.

    5. Great early back-to-school gift.

    6. VACATIONS! People are going on summer vacations and don't want to lug a laptop just to do quick browsing and emails. The newly-improved camera with automatic geotagging is a BIG plus when you are heading out on vacation. Plus, you can upload the photos instantly.

    So, I think it's going to sell better than people think. I'm thinking it might top 1 million this weekend. Should be interesting to see.
    • RE:I predict closer to 1 million sales over weekend...

      Agree to an extent. I will be one of those who fall under #1 and #6. I have the original iPhone and it will become an iPod Touch shortly after getting my 3GS. I did not get the 3G because I live in Hawaii and GPS is not really needed here and I don't travel much. The 3G network works fine in my area (as seen on a friend's 3G), but not compelling for me because I have WiFi at home and that is where I would really us it. I am really in it for the changes to the camera. Turn by turn GPS is not quite out yet, but when TomTom releases their app, I will probably get it. And when I do travel or just go around Hawaii, not lugging around a laptop and a camera, plus the iPhone, I will just take my iPhone 3GS and leave everything else at home.

      But really other than #1 I can't see much of an initial weekend push. If people are going on vacations, then they could possibly wait. I'm not sure if the price sits in the right area for #4 and #5, plus the plans will be expensive. But you need to take into account that some people will go/or have already gone for the 3G with its new low price.

      The key lies in other countries. I don't know what contract lengths are, but I do believe that other countries' providers actually have 1 year contracts (not all but some). That means that if you are not in the US and tied to AT&T, you might actually be able to upgrade this time around. If they too are stuck to two year plans, this could put a damper on sales. Remember that a lot of the sales boost of the 3G, was overseas. Some countries never got the original iPhone, but got the 3G.

      The App Store is great, but an original iPhone all the way through the 3GS can use it. Another factor is that some people might give or sell their iPhone, to get the 3GS, but I could easily give mine away to someone and sort of prevent a sale of the new one to those people. I'm not going to, however, but some will.

      I think half a million is low, but not far off the mark.
  • 3G S hitting ?

    A phone that poops onto mobile networks... weird.
    • Hmmm...A poop in the shape of Sister Mary Margarette! PRICELESS! (NT)

      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • I will be buying mine, in July, for budgetary reasons

    I can't contribute to the weekend opener, but I will
    be getting one in July.

    I think that opening weekend purchases are limited to
    supply and more hard core users who must have now.

    In my area it's expected to be sold out launch day so
    it really doesn't matter, sold out is sold out. 20k,
    500k, 1M.
  • Why would you want one?

    Its just now catching up to some other features other phones have had for a long time.

    It still can only do 2 things at once.

    Other phones on the horizon with much faster processors and more ability.

    In about 2 months, those that spend $ on an iphone will have spent money on something obsolete.
    • Sure

      Seem to me by that logic 2 months after that, those that spend $ on a [i]Vapor Phone X[/i] will have spent money on something obsolete as well.
    • Wrong

      The iPhone is easily upgraded. I have a first generation iPhone that can now do a lot of things it couldn't do when I purchased it thanks to the 3.o software upgrade. The iPhone is really a mini computer, and like all computers, it can be easily upgraded. It's not a stagnant device like so many of the other devices on the market. I also love being able to do Exchange without being chained to a BBES server.
    • Like people that bought a Zune HD or any WM device?

      Talk about rapid obsolescence. I should say will buy the Zune HD. The
      Zune HD will just barely match the speed of the new 3G S (I know some
      wet their pants on the much delayed Tegra but it is still wait and see
      since its ARM11 is no match for Cortex-8).