announced this morning that it has sold over 1.7 million units of the new iPhone 4 smartphone through Saturday, only three days after its launch on June 24. These numbers, touts the Cupertino-based company, make the iPhone 4 launch the "most successful in Apple's history."Apple
Oddly enough, it's also the launch that seems to have had the most technical issues as well, like, for instance, the antenna reception problems Apple confirmed both officially and unofficially last week. Holding the phone in a particular way leads to a weakened signal and sometimes even dropped calls, according to numerous reports from new users, testers, gadget blogs and mainstream media news outlets.
Despite these issues, consumers lined up for the new device in record numbers, proving once again, those who buy Apple are some of the most loyal customers a company could ever have.
Sorry, Says Apple CEO
"We apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply," Apple CEO Steve Jobs is quoted as saying in this morning's release containing the sales numbers.
The CEO, however, was not as apologetic a few days prior when responding via email - his new unofficial channel to speak and react to public inquiry - to a consumer's complaint about antenna performance. "Just avoid holding [the iPhone] in that way," he suggested to the email's writer.
Meanwhile, officially, the company downplayed the antenna issues. "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance," a company spokesperson told media outlets last week.Another solution offered by the spokesperson was to buy one of the company's $30 rubber bumpers instead. The bumpers, incidentally, represent Apple's first foray into the accessory case business, arriving just in time for the iPhone 4. (Evil? Or evil genius?, one has to wonder.)
Issues Aside, iPhone 4 Sells
Today, unconfirmed rumors circulating through tech blogs hint that Apple may be close to releasing a software update that will fix the antenna weakening issue, a problem previously thought to be related to the device's hardware design itself. The new iPhone 4 places the antenna outside the phone in a stainless steel band circulating the device. According to various sources, though, the hardware may not be at fault after all. Instead, forum postings on the Apple.com website (now removed, of course), supposedly confirmed that a software fix for the reception issues would ship early this week.
Yet, despite these problems and other less prevalent reports of screens with yellow streaks or the occasional misplaced volume button, the iPhone 4 has outsold not only its rivals, but other iPhones (and iPads!) too.
To put the numbers in historical perspective, in 2008 Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3G devices within the same time frame (three days) as the iPhone 4. Last year, the company again sold 1 million of the 3GS model iPhones during its opening weekend. iPads, on the other hand, took a little longer to reach the million mark: 28 days, to be precise. After another 29 days, Apple had sold 2 million iPads and then 3 million after 80 days.