informa
/
2 MIN READ
Commentary

Did Apple Really 'Sell' 1 Million iPhones To End Users? Nope.

That nice, shiny press release that Apple issued yesterday failed to point out one important fact. Apple counts "sales" as any device it has sold to wireless network operators such as AT&T. The network operators then re-sell the devices to actual end users. According to analysts, only 425,000 end users bought iPhones over the weekend.
That nice, shiny press release that Apple issued yesterday failed to point out one important fact. Apple counts "sales" as any device it has sold to wireless network operators such as AT&T. The network operators then re-sell the devices to actual end users. According to analysts, only 425,000 end users bought iPhones over the weekend.Yeah, how about them apples, Apple? Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster had calculated the actual number of 3G iPhone sales to be less than half a million. He came to that number by surveying stores on Friday, July 11, and figuring out how many new iPhones were being activated each hour.

His initial projections on Friday came to 28 new iPhones per hour per store. Based on the number of stores and the number of hours they were open, he estimated 425,000 units sold to end users over the weekend. He also suggested that it would take Apple a full 17 days to reach the 1 million mark. So why the discrepancy?

Fortune reports, "One explanation for the discrepancy may have to do with how Apple counts sales. Sales at Apple Stores are recorded at the register. But sales to its partners -- in this case, AT&T and the overseas carriers -- are recorded when the devices leave the loading docks in Asia. In other words, some of those 1 million iPhones recorded as sold by Apple may still be in transit."

Apple has sold one million iPhones to its customers. Some of its customers, such as anyone who bought an iPhone at an Apple Store, are actual end users. But many are not. Some customers are network operators, and Apple would be bulk-shipping hundreds if not thousands of devices to them. Apple may not have explicitly stated who it sold 1 million 3G iPhones to, but the implication was that one million people bought iPhones.

So thanks, Apple spin machine, for your interesting statistics and take on what a "sale" actually is.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing