Now that real numbers are in, it's clear that estimates of the number of iPhones sold in the first few days after the launch were wildly inflated. So, it's worth asking, where did the crazy off-the-mark numbers come from? It turns out that most of the high-end analyst estimates were based on, well, analyst estimates.The most widely reported number was 700,000 iPhones sold in the first weekend, an estimate that came from Goldman Sachs analyst David Bailey. It's not clear where Bailey got his number, but "out of the air" would seemingly not be far off. Bailey basically doubled his pre-launch estimate of 350,000 units sold in the first few days. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray was similarly bullish, putting sales at around 500,000 units, again more than doubling his initial forecast, based on … I dunno, media hype, perhaps?
The blog WaitingforiPhone.com provided the most bogus data of all, claiming that "a full-time staffer in ATT Mobilty's Commerce Group who chose to remain anonymous" stated that AT&T had activated 1 million iPhones in the first few days.
In fact, Apple reported today that it shipped nearly 270,000 of the new devices in the first two days of sales -- a great quarter for any other device maker, but way below the wilder claims. AT&T said yesterday that it activated 146,000 iPhones in the first two days it was on sale, meaning the WaitingforiPhone number was off by 86%.
Resisting iPhone mania, JP Morgan analyst Bill Shope came up with a sales estimate for the first weekend that looks positively deadeyed by comparison: Shope said around 312,000 iPhones were sold that first weekend, adding in a note to clients that demand was slightly disappointing.
Tell me again: What are these other guys getting paid for?