So is the iPhone a flop? Today’s New York Sun, among other papers, reports that, in the first 30 hours of the iPhone’s availability, a mere 146,000 were activated, according to AT&T, its exclusive service provider. Though 146,000 activations in 30 hours might strike any of us as a big number — that’s 80 each minute, after all — it pales in comparison to the 500,000 units analysts were estimating would sell in the first two days the thing was available. (Here’s an especially rah-rah CNN item from July 2, the three days after the iPhone went on sale, tossing out that half-million number.) Plus, it gets worse: A CIBC World Markets report out yesterday shows that demand has only cooled since that first, underwhelming burst. That news drove Apple stock down 6 percent yesterday, and AT&T took a hit as well. By this measure, the Sun says, the rollout has been a crushing failure.
But wait! Could it be that the disappointment comes from deranged projections and fudged coverage, not from actual sales performance? That’s what tech bloggers are saying. “All the products that Apple sold for 90 days last quarter won’t get nearly the attention as the one that was on sale for two days,” notes Tech Talk; Geek Fun wisely notes that the iPhone didn’t go on sale until 6 p.m. on the day that’s included in those alarmist “two-day” sales totals.
So this we can say with certainty, then: The iPhone has been a huge disappointment. Unless it hasn’t.