Apple announced today
that 1,700,000 iPhone 4s were sold in the first three days, with Steve Jobs calling it "the most successful product launch in Apple's history." Alluding to persistent supply and ordering issues, Jobs added that "we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply." Apple, which usually doesn't give out sales figures, did not break the 1.7 million down by model or country of purchase, or specify whether the total included all iPhones ordered or just the ones that were actually delivered.
With months of hype building up to the release, most of the iPhones purchased this weekend had to be pre-ordered from Apple or AT&T online or at Best Buy, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart stores. AT&T begins selling iPhone 4s tomorrow at their retail stores, with long lines again expected. The iPhone 4 is also available in the UK, France, Germany and Japan and will go on sale in 18 countries more countries over the next month: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The phone will be available in a total of 87 countries by the end of September.
The sales results surprised even the most optimistic industry analysts. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who is known for generally overestimating Apple sales potential, said on Friday that he thought first weekend sales would total between 1 to 1.5 million
. Munster's team surveyed six hundred iPhone buyers in San Francisco last week, and found that three-quarters of them were upgrading
from an older iPhone.
When the first iPhone went on sale in 2007, it took 72 days to sell a million at the original $599 price. Last year, Apple sold a million iPhone 3GSes in the first three days. It took 28 days to sell a million iPads, but over 3 million of them have sold to date.