The exclusive U.S. wireless carrier of the device reported Tuesday in its second-quarter earnings that it had activated 146,000 iPhones in the first two days it was on sale. AT&T recognizes sales of mobile phones at the time of activation.
While the sales number would have been outstanding for any other mobile phone, Apple investors had expected more from the overly hyped device. Apple stock on Tuesday fell $8.81, or 6.1%, to $134.89 on the Nasdaq. By midday Wednesday, the stock was up roughly 1%, or $1.35.
Investors apparently expected more from the iPhone based on reports during the first weekend it was on sale. Apple launched the combination mobile phone/media player/handheld computer on Friday June 29. Goldman Sachs had estimated sales of 700,000 units that weekend, and some Web sites posted rumors of 1 million phones sold.
While some predictions were over-the-top, AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said sales of the iPhone were strong in July. "Our launch with Apple of the breakthrough iPhone has quickly redefined customer expectations for their wireless experience," he said in a statement. "Mobility is a major growth engine for AT&T."
Apple is scheduled to release iPhone sales on Wednesday as part of its quarterly earnings report. The number is expected to differ from AT&T's, because Apple recognizes revenue when the product is shipped. Apple has set a goal of selling 10 million iPhones during the first 12 months.