Apple sees record breaking iPhone 4S sales

Pundits may have deemed the iPhone 4S disappointing, but both AT&T and Sprint reported incredible iPhone 4S sales this past Friday

Update: It's not just the carriers who are reporting record breaking sales. Early on Monday morning Apple posted a press release stating that they sold over 4 million iPhone 4S units in the first 3 days since the device first went on sale. Apple also notes that 25 million customers are already using iOS 5 and that 20 million customers have already signed up for iCloud.

Putting the 4 million figure into context, Apple's Phil Schiller notes: “iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend—the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days”

Last Summer, Apple's first weekend iPhone 4 sales figures checked in at 1.7 million units.


Apple has never been a company to ever cater to the pundits. It doesn't sell a product exclusively based on features but rather sells an all encapsulating user experience. So when Apple introduced the iPhone 4S two weeks ago, a number of analysts and pundits expressed disappointment over the features Apple didn't include as opposed to paying attention to what the iPhone 4S brought to the table.

In short, these pundits lamented the fact that the iPhone 4S was not 4G and that it sported the same form factor as its predecessor, the iPhone 4.

And while 4G speeds and a snazzy new form factor are undoubtedly important issues for some users (read: geeks), the majority of consumers just want a phone that works. And to that end, the iPhone 4S delivers. Its A5 processor is extremely fast and has blown all other smartphones out of the water in benchmarking tests. Further, it comes with an 8-megapixel camera that can easily serve as a point and shoot replacement. And then we have 1080p HD video, all of the goodies that come with iOS 5, and last but not least, Siri - Apple's take on voice recognition.

So while that may not be enough to impress everyone, the masses seem to think otherwise.

The iPhone 4S stands ready to be the most successful and popular iPhone model to date. Apple noted recently that pre-orders for the device checked in at 1 million units in under 24 hours. And now that the first weekend of iPhone sales is behind us, carriers are indicating that the iPhone 4S is already a roaring success.

Sprint, for example, noted this past Friday that the iPhone 4S set a new record for first day sales of any device in Sprint history.

Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/1pm ET. The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers’ desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan.

What makes that all the more impressive is that the iPhone 4S was able to achieve that record in less than 12 hours. 

A shortwhile later, AT&T also released a statement on Friday touting its own impressive iPhone 4S sales.

As of 4:30 pm ET today, AT&T had already activated a record number of iPhones on our network – and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day. These record volumes may produce slower activations for some customers, though our systems continue to run at record levels.

That's a solid vote of confidence for a phone that some analysts pegged as disappointing.

These analysts, however, don't really get Apple.

Apple works methodically, slowly iterating its devices and amassing new features systematically, slowly but surely. Whereas some companies might flood a new smartphone device with broad-ranging features like NFC support, 4G support, and mammoth 5-inch screens, Apple takes its time. Because Apple doesn't rush to cram in as many features as it can into a new iPhone, it can focus its energies to ensure that the features it does include work swimmingly.

Take 4G smartphones for example. You'd be lucky to find a review of a 4G enabled smartphone that doesn't mention abhorrent battery life. You can bet that Apple, on the other hand, will only release a 4G iPhone once it engineers devise a way to conserve battery life and keep the phone usable for the end-user.

At the end of the day, what consumers want is what matters most and the first day figures from Sprint and AT&T all point to the same conclusion - Consumers want iPhones.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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