Sales for newest iPhone could hit half million first weekend
Apple’s latest iPhone goes on sale in eight countries Friday, and analysts say sales may reach 500,000.
BY PAVEL ALPEYEV AND AMY THOMSON
Apple may sell half a million iPhone 3G S models in their first weekend on sale, half as many as the previous version, because the device debuts in fewer countries, according to Piper Jaffray & Co.
The iPhone 3G S goes on sale in eight countries Friday. Its new features aren’t major improvements on the old version, and the previous model is also available at half the price, analyst Gene Munster said in a report Thursday.
Apple has sought to appeal to more customers amid escalating competition from Research In Motion and Palm, which are jockeying for a bigger piece of the market for Web-equipped handsets. So-called smart phones may provide the only area of growth this year in the handset market, with shipments climbing 13 percent last quarter as overall sales shrank, according to researcher Gartner Inc.
Palm, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., introduced the touch-screen Pre phone this month, while T-Mobile USA plans to unveil a new phone based on Google’s Android operating system next week. Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM plans to introduce its BlackBerry Tour model over the summer.
Apple may sell 7 million iPhones in the first full quarter, the most since the line of smart phones debuted in 2007, Munster said. Dallas-based AT&T is the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in the U.S.
The iPhone 3G was the second-most popular smart phone among U.S. consumers in the first quarter, according to researcher NPD Group. RIM’s BlackBerry Curve was in first place after a two-for-one sale at Verizon Wireless stores. The iPhone was followed by the BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Pearl. T-Mobile’s G1, the first generation of the Android phone, was fifth.
The new iPhone will be available in two versions: one priced at $199 with 16 gigabytes of memory and a 32-gigabyte product for $299 with a two-year contract. Its new features include faster Web browsing and a better camera.