Putting iPhone Sales In Perspective

from the it's-good,-but... dept

We didn’t have much (well, anything) to say about the recent iPhone launch because it certainly seemed as though the rest of the tech press/blogworld had that one… um… thoroughly covered. However, with the glowing reports earlier this week about how amazing it was that Apple had sold 1 million iPhones over the weekend, Carlo Longino has put that into perspective, noting that it’s not quite as impressive as most people seem to think. First, as he notes, since the launch was international (rather than the original iPhones US-only launch), it’s no surprise that it would sell many more. But, more importantly, he notes that recent stats on mobile handsets shows that 282 million handsets were sold in the first quarter of this year, and that Nokia alone appears to sell approximately 1.28 million handsets per day. So, yes, selling 1 million handsets over the weekend is a nice round milestone — and certainly other handset makers are probably jealous of the attention it’s getting. But, it’s not having a huge impact on the overall handset market just yet.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: apple, nokia

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Putting iPhone Sales In Perspective”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
AlexB says:

Apples to Apples comparison

Why do people keep making that Nokia comparison?

How many units of a comparable handset does Nokia sell would be a fairer comparison, rather than how many does Nokia sell in total when they are going for the entire market, from low-end to smartphone, whereas Apple is just focusing on the smartphone end of the market.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Apples to Apples comparison

Applies to Apples:
We arent dumb. We know the Nokia figure refers to a number of handsets which does not mean it is a fair comparison. The write might have wanted to be specific. I think that as a compaison, the total number of handsets sold in a month (well over 4×30= 120 for Nokia alone) might be a better figure to compare with.

Why compare the total number of all handsets sold in a month to the total number of Apple handsets sold in a weekend?
Because apple buyers have been waiting for a month to buy the new model, that’s why.

This writer blogs from LA, Western
Call me unregistered, call me ValleyVoyager, just dont call me a coward. LOL

more popular than the numbers show... says:

Day of iphone release, there were hundreds of people lined up at every store in town. Only the first few people in line got phones – the rest were sent home. Myself included. So I showed up 1.5 hours before the store opened on the 2nd day of release. I got the last 16gig phone available. The stores in austin, tx only received a shipment of 40 phones each – 10 black 16 gigs, 10 white 16 gigs, 20 8 gigs.

So I wonder how many phones would have been sold if apple actually shipped enough to all these stores?

Craig says:


“iAnything” for consumer whores. Steve Jobs is laughing in your face, all you status-seekers. He’s also laughing as he watches the armour cars unload your cash that he is depositing into his bank account.

Buy your status symbol and then run to your access provider and bend over and prepare to take it up the arse.

You suckers will buy anything and pay anything just to be with the in-crowd. I weep for you all.

Sick of brainless and pointless rants says:

Re: iAnything

Wow! What an iLoser you truly must be. Grow up and call your mommy and daddy RIGHT NOW to demand all the hugs they must have denied you while growing up. It’s okay — once you see what you look like to others, you can give it a good cry. Let it out. The rest of us will just ignore your crying like we ignore you pretending you’re cool with your pointless and shameful iTourettes.

tubes says:

Re: Re: iAnything

I agree with craig completely you’re a moron if bought one. You spent $199 or $299 on a phone that you will pay double monthly compared to any other plan at&t offers, just cause you wanted an iphone. It looks nice but that is it! A phone that is mainly music player but doesn’t even offer a2dp, sorry i’ll pass.
Apple people make me laugh as long as there is an “i” before the name they have to have it & will just believe it is the best thing out there & will pay triple the price for it.
Way to go iSheep!! iJobbs loves you!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: iAnything

That is funny look at all the companies trying to come out with phones that look and feel like the Iphone…

With Sprint I got raped buying a smartphone and service plan that cost me close to $105 a month – With AT&T I pay $90 a month and also I PAYED LESS FOR THE PHONE..

You can call it fanboys or whatever, its simple, there is no other phone like it with the features set for personal use and business..I have 100’s of clients and the Iphone keeps it easier to organize then any other Iphone.

When people begin to grow up and use technology in the work place they will understand it is more then just following the crowd – The same was said about the Blackberry when it came out…

Jim says:

Re: Re: Re: iAnything

I don’t have anything mac or windows… but I have considered getting on iPhone though. From what I have seen it works very well and has a lot of great features in a sharp package. Does that make me a sheep?

I would like to buy an OpemMoko, but it is twice the price and half (if that) the functionality. I’m all for supporting the open community (and hating on Jobs) but I think you have to admit that that the iPhone is a solid well-supported product at a good price (even considering the price for data).

tubes says:

Re: Re: Re:2 iAnything

Being a trucker his costs might be more, at&t might charge him as a business maybe that’s why he is paying that much. I just checked my plan (personal) if you get the full unlimited plan with their unlimited mediaNET BS & almost everything else, it added up a little more $150/month.
I was just checking a normal personal plan. The plan I have costs me $59.99. For the iPhone that same plan is $89.99 granted it includes unlimited internet but they are forcing you to buy that for me its just an option. It is wifi capable, I’m generally in areas where I have wifi available, I wouldn’t want to pay for something I already get for free.

People don’t get me wrong it is a nice phone but not that nice to suffer with the BS plan that you get stuck with for two years & if it isn’t activated it is useless you can’t use anything!! If you like the phone get the iPod Touch, it’s the same thing w/out a phone feature & generally cost a hundred bucks more & doesn’t need a monthly plan for it to work.

DomArch says:

apples to apples comparison

I agree w/Alex B. Apple has one handset that sold 1.28 million. Is there a comparable handset from LG or Nokia that sells that many in the same time frame? Apple isn’t a cell phone company – it’s really some kind of hybrid hardware/software/media/consumer electronics company at this point. What is impressive isn’t that it sold that many phones, but than in such a short amount of time, with relatively no experience making phones (remember Palm’s CEO’s famous quote?) they have been able to make a product that can hold it’s own – with very respectable numbers – in a very crowded and competitive marketplace.

Michael Long (user link) says:

Smart Phones in perspective...

According to Gartner, worldwide smartphone sales in 1Q 2008 totaled 32.2 million units, which would put the average daily sales of those higher-end phones at roughly 358,000 units.

Or in other words, Apple sold — singlehandedly — almost as many smartphones over the weekend as ALL OF THE OTHER MANUFACTURERS COMBINED.

Just to put things into perspective…

BlowURmindBowel says:

Re: Smart Phones in perspective...

Naiveté is the most fundamentally endearing characteristic of a fanboi.

deferred sales: (pre-orders for how long?)

Not to mention the sheep mentality of the followers of the church of Jobsentology. Steveo could sell rubberized toilet seats that sing la-cucaracha and they would sell by the millions too. 😉



rwahrens (profile) says:


Get back to us when you can actually say something intelligent.

I, like most other of Apple’s customers, bought an iPhone 3G because, gee, it is a well designed hand held computer that brings the modern world of communication to my pocket. It just happens to have a phone in it to round out that world of communication possibilities.

I don’t feel particularly cheated by AT&T, certainly it ain’t cheap, but then, it is on a new generation network, which ain’t particularly cheap for them to build, either.
As an Apple shareholder, I can appreciate the desire of the AT&T shareholders to actually make some money at the end of the day…

And thanks to Michael Long for the nice way of bringing us some REAL perspective in this story!

iEmo says:

Craig must have issues


Bitter, table of 1? Ease up Craig. My work is getting a few iPhones and I’m definitely trying to get in on this. iPhones are way better than most of the smart phones on the market, dare I say, even the blackberry. You probably live in a teepee and make shoes out of animal hides. Get an iPhone and get with the program.

Anonymous Cowherd says:

Re: Double standard

Then stop acting like “fanboi/iZombie/sheep” if even one of you would occasionally admit that the iPhone isn’t PERFECT and mention a single minor thing you dis-like about it the “others” would probably chill out quite a bit.

But NOOOOOOO, none of the “fanboi[s]/iZombie[s]/sheep” can possibly admit that there is ANYTHING wrong with the iPhone. That might anger their creator God the great JAHBS, no; dissent from within would be much greater blasphemy than the hoards of unbelievers could ever perform.

And so, there is the problem with commenting on any iPhone related thread. Fans will not dare question the utter perfection that is the iPhone, and everyone else thinks the fans are complete idiots because of that, and any possibility of civil discourse goes out the window as soon as the first comment is posted.

WinMo FTW! 😉

Jim says:

Re: Re: Double standard

If the conversation starts out sans intelligence, it will stay that way. I believe this forum became trollish when someone called iPhone users sheep. iPhone supporters retorted that, for whatever reason, the phone worked for them.

Perhaps if you asked them in a civilized manner to discuss the pros and cons, you might get an intelligent discussion. Instead you sling mud and gripe when it comes back at you.

There are some negatives to the iPhone (no GPS software to speak of and the battery life is weak) – but has the question been posed politely and intelligently? Not that I have seen.

Note: I don’t own any Apple products and am vehemently in favor of Open Source.

sick of iFanboism says:

Boy the iFanbois are out in full force

I’m suprised at how strong the iTroll force is today on TD. Yes the 3g iJesus is a phone, but its not the solution to terrorism or world hunger…All you iLemmings need to get a grip and look around at the cheaper, dare I say BETTER products that don’t start with the 3rd vowel!

aquaadverse says:

Re: Re: Boy the iFanbois are out in full force

“Please, point out one quote from an iFan that is outlandish.”
How about:

“The iPhone is the best consumer technical/digital appliance to hit the market since the inception of technical/digital appliances. All appliances that are just now starting to come to market to compete, are still very far behind the curve. Just a fact”.

By the way, I did this with a cut and paste from my non-Iphone, something that’s apparently of no use according to the person who posted the above in question 34. DVD’s satellite and digital cable TV and solid state storage jump out without too much thought. I like iPhones, nice gadget. But it would seem to be doing an awful lot of catching up with other phones if you look at what 2.0 is offering over the original.

lbf says:

Some simple facts...

The iPhone is the best consumer technical/digital appliance to hit the market since the inception of technical/digital appliances. All appliances that are just now starting to come to market to compete, are still very far behind the curve. Just a fact.

It’s not that a phone company is able to sell 1 million units in a weekend. It’s Apple selling a phone, that only has two flavors, is able to sell 1 million units in a weekend. How long have they been in the phone business? Just another simple fact.

buffalobill says:

Re: Some simple facts...

Others are far behind the curve? Huh?
The iPhone’s just come out with 3G and it still has a cra**y 2mp camera and no video recording capabilities. And you reckon they’re ahead of the curve?
iWeep. Good for them they sold 1 million in a weekend. With that kind of hype and marketing I’m not surprised. Doesn’t make it better though.

Alfonso says:


It’s amazing how many of you call us that bought either the original iPhone Edge or now the iPhone 3g fan boys. I can say a few things that are wrong with the iPhone. One for instance is that it doesn’t have a the ability to take video. Two it kinda sucks that the bluetooth is so locked down. It also sucks that safari can’t just go to youtube or play flash.

Those are things that I don’t like about the iPhone (I have the edge). I had looked at the windows mobile alternatives but completly hated the OS. It was way to cumbersome to use IMO. That being said I am a .net developer so I develop strictly for windows. I’m not an apple fan boy but someone that saw the iPhone as a phone that had a lot of features that I wanted with a very simple and easy to use interface.

ValleyVoyager says:

Re: comparing systems, what of the Nokia 810

I have a keen interest in learning about these things.
It’s my reason for slogging through these Fanboy and anti-Fanboy posts. Heh.

I keep looking at the Nokia internet tablets, the 770, 800, rumoured 800 with sprintnet, and the 810 (backwards with the fixed camera but it adds a physical keyboard).

But oh the 3 hour battery life kills it. On the other hand it can do the things you want and works on wireless does skype and is linux-open source.

I’d like to hear more about it. And the real limitations of the iphone. Thanks.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Lets take an honest look and stop the name calling

First I have been using computers since the days of the Commodore 64 and Apple IIe. I have used many different computers and operating systems in that time. So I have some experience when I talk.

I have been working supporting and designing Windows Systems since 1989. I have had more than 12 different Smartphones since then started calling it that. And I now own a iPhone 3G.

Why because first and foremost because of the UI design, secondly because it nows has 3G network on it. I did not buy the original iPhone because it lacked too many things like 3G. Everybody that talks about fanboys or other stupid names just miss the simple fact that the reason it is selling like it is because it simply much easier to use than the most of the other Smartphones out there.

And don’t call me a fanboy because I am sick of smartphones designed like crap. I don’t have to pull out a stylus to do something simple like dial a number. Or have to deal with tiny buttons that you have to tap with your stylus just right. For once you now can see most web pages without it being cropped or reformatted to fit the mobile browser. Sure you can’t see Flash but that is actually pretty smart because it slows down your browser and half the time displays stupid ads.

Next I have grown more and more sick of UI designers that just simply do not have a clue. And you know they don’t have a clue because they have a really hard time thinking like the average person when they design the UI making it hard for the average non-technical person do things they need to be able to do. Example: I have had a good 30% of my clients have a problem finding out how to do something like Save As in Office 2007. And my clients are not dumb, they are Doctors and Engineers.

The average user does not care how something works or what cool new feature something has if they don’t make easier to find. If they don’t know where to find it they can’t use the cool new feature. So IMHO nothing is more important to a good Smartphone, Computer, etc than a good UI. And the iPhone have a good UI. Is it perfect? No. Is it better than what is on the market right now. Yes. Sorry but it is true.

Name one phone on the market that has a easier to use and do what the average use wants to do on it. Name one, and if you up to the challenge I will be happy to prove you wrong. Now I am not talking about the features because the iPhone does lack features other phones have but just the UI. And the UI is all that the average person cares about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lets take an honest look and stop the name calling

I don’t like the iPhone because for me it is way too big of a form factor. I carry my phone in my pocket. That’s not something that I’d think about doing with an iPhone.

I use one of the small form factor Windows phones. It keeps my contacts up to date and I can read my email if I desire. I tend to have computer wit me most of the time, so things like sending email and web browsing aren’t that big of a deal for me.
I hate to dial a phone with a touch screen. Tactile buttons are so much nicer.

drtaxsacto (profile) says:

Apples to Apples

The million phones numbers (which come in part from estimates of Piper Jaffrey) are worldwide. The more impressive number is 800,000 in the first three days in the US sales alone. This is going to be a hot product and despite the initial glitches (I was a part of the initial queue in Pasadena – read about it in my posts at my blogspot site) the phone does what Apple said it would.

I am not sure what all the vitriol is in some of these comments. Ultimately, if Apple makes a good phone that fits your needs, buy it. If it does not, one of the strengths of the marketplace is we have other options. I used the first generation and found it better than my RAZR. I have used the 3G since Friday and find it to be a significant improvement. I don’t have any hate for any people who don’t make the same choice that I do nor do I begrudge Apple making a profit for a useful device. The service plans for my phone to use it all I want is reasonably priced.

Anonymous Coward says:

A device the size of a hand with the functionality of a desktop?

How can this not benefit Business? Hate to admit it, but a year ago, I made a rather lengthly business case to make SCM (Supply Chain Management) efforts iPhone enabled for a relatively small company called “Boeing” Perhaps you’ve heard of them.

Steve Jobs is incredible. His system supports all GSM and systems on 7 continents.

Freedom says:

Why some folks with IT Experience hate Apple...

One of the the reasons why folks that have been around for awhile hate Apple is because Apple has shown on many occasions that it will screw those that love and make their living in IT. Try being a VAR/IT Company that wants to sell both Microsoft and Apple solutions. Good luck! Microsoft doesn’t care, but Apple does and you won’ get “APPROVED” to buy their products via distribution – period. You either drink the Koolaid or you don’t get to come over and play.

I guess you could say a lot of folks see beyond the latest hype and realize there is still a monster behind the curtain. Frankly, if Steve Jobs wasn’t running Apple, the story and frustration for many would be different and the product would be judged on its coolness alone.

In you need some examples, look at the case of them suing Psytar. Why? In the end, don’t you want a larger market. If you are a platform company, then yes, but if you are a gadget/device company then maybe not. The problem is that for them to continue to grow they need to be a foundation company and they’ve never shown any ability to do this. As such, everyone gets all hot on Apple and then they self-destruct as SJ’s obsession with maintaining full control causes Apple to noise dive. Those in the IT world then get to clean up after this and many see the train wreck coming.

Another example is look at what it takes to develop software for the iPhone:

Want to write an App and put it on your phone. Sorry, that will be $99 fee to sign up as a developer and you must be approved by Apple first.

After approval, your application must be put up on the Apple Web Store before you can even download and test it on YOUR phone. Nope, no BETA testing for you. Nope, no private APPS for you. ALL 3RD PARTY APPS MUST BE PUBLISHED ON THE APPLE WEB STORE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY APPROVED BY APPLE – EVEN REVISIONS.

But wait, what if I’m a corporation and I have private internal applications that I want to develop. No problem, you just need to pay $299 and have 500 or more employees. At this point and assuming you’ve been APPROVED by the great Apple Gods, then you can get a way to load your private apps on your phones outside the Apple Web Store.

But wait, what if I’m a smaller company and need private internal applications or just would like to test my application and not publish it. Sorry!

But wait, what if I just want to write a program for myself and not make it public. Sorry!

What if Apple doesn’t like my program or me and I don’t get approved. Sorry!

Did I mention that Apple can at any time stop your application from working on ALL iPhones including YOURS? Yep. Every application is given a key that allows it to work on the phone and Apple can and will revoke your special APPROVED key on any or all phones to stop it whenever it desires. They maintain FULL 100% control – PERIOD.

So now imagine if Microsoft did the same thing? No apps for Windows or Windows Mobile based Phones unless it comes from Microsoft’s “Application Website”. All applications must be sold via the website and Microsoft keeps 30% of all 3rd party application sales – don’t like it, oh that’s right, Sorry! There would be blood in the press about it! Somehow Apple gets away with it and every new gadget they make is literally the greatest thing since slice bread (or sliced pie for that matter for those that know me). Apparently someone forget to pass me the crack pipe, because I frankly just don’t get it.


Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Why some folks with IT Experience hate Apple...

I agree with you. And yes in ways I don’t bother with Apple. But they have a different market they are targeting. They don’t want all the problems that MS has with bad developers writing bad apps that are then installed on you cellphone and cause it to crash like I have had happen at least a 20 times with the 7 different Pocket PC based smartphones.
Do I agree with closed systems and trying to control the food chain up and down the line, no, but Apple sees it as good for two reasons. One they get to make money from being the one place for everything Apple, and two because they can be sure things are going to play well together. Which MS has no chance of ever doing.

Personally, I think app development should have some happy medium where not any dumbass can make an app that will crash my system and you have to answer to the company gods.

Crash says:

Re: Re: Why some folks with IT Experience hate Apple...

Name me one of those 7 different phones you had 20 different crashes on each, then look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that your new bling has not done the very same thing, Hell Leo Laporte talks about the problems he has with Apple products why cant every other apple fanboi? My god people we are talking technology here, everything crashes, blitzes out, blue screen or kernel panic, freezes. So stop with the BS.

Chris says:

Re: Why some folks with IT Experience hate Apple...

You must be new to computing. Aside from some sketchy mac clones way back when, Apple has always been about controlling the brand. Now for a computer all the anti-Apple points are extremely relevant (more expensive, unflexable, lack of personal control) and only about 8% of the computer market is willing to put up with that.

Many of us ARE willing to give up that control on the iPhone for a really well designed phone that works well. It’s not gonna cost me anymore than a Blackberry, it does everything I need and it does it WELL. Plus I can always Jailbreak it later if I feel like it.

Allen (profile) says:


It doesn’t look (from the above) that an open rational debate is possible. What is it about apple that sees such polarisation

Personally, I dont need to enumerate the things that my Nokia can do that the iPhone cant (the iPhone is lacking some very basic features for a 3G phone) and it doesnt matter that the iPhone has cooler interface (very drool worthy): I just have to compare the price. The iPhone costs about 10 times what I paid for the Nokia a year ago. I’m in no hurry.

drtaxsacto (profile) says:

Re: Polarization


It does appear that rational discussion is possible. I find the 3G (as I did the earlier iPhone) very useful for what I need a phone for. There are some cool features that I have not found on other phones – for example, when I travel out of the country it inserts the proper calling code to get back to the number I want to call (001 in Mexico versus 011 in the US for example). I am not sure about the 3G features that the phone is missing but based on four days with the iPhone and a year with the other one – I have found it useful. Battery life is likely to be a problem for heavy users of Push. But the other innovations in Version 2 seem to be substantial additions.

Thanks for keeping this on the right plane.


Sean says:

What is it with all this ‘iJoke’ bullshit? Do you people think you are original? Guess what, you are just as bad as Apple users – you think your dislike of Apple puts you above others and that your original useage of the letter i infront of something makes you funny.

Fuck off and welcome to being just as cliche as those you condemn.

Sean says:

What is it with all this ‘iJoke’ bullshit? Do you people think you are original? Guess what, you are just as bad as Apple users – you think your dislike of Apple puts you above others and that your original useage of the letter i infront of something makes you funny.

Fuck off and welcome to being just as cliche as those you condemn.

Perspective says:

Re; IT People

“Freedom” (aka rambling IT guy that has time to write a 10,000 word post):

Newsflash: No one really cares what IT people think. . .all they care about is whether their computer/phone/etc works. Seriously. The rest of us just tolerate you guys because we really don’t have a choice.

Newsflash #2: Long winded, repetitive posts just guarantee that your last half-dozen paragraphs aren’t read.

Newsflash #3: Only the irrational “hate” corporations.

Newsflash #4: Apple is not MS, and MS isn’t Apple. If you knew what you were talking about, you’d understand the difference, but you don’t because you’re a rambling IT guy.

Saurabh says:

Number Games ... Just how much did Nokia or perhaps RIM pay to this Carlo guy to write this article

There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.The numbers are extremely impressive when you stay within the device’s category – smartphones.

Global smartphone sales total in Q1 2008 = 32.2 million.
North American smartphone sales in Q1 2008 = 7.3 million.

We’re talking about 1 million smartphones sold in a weekend. That’s Impressive. Also, why don’t we compare device to device, say one phone model to one phone model – how about iphone 3G vs say N95 or whole of N series …and then we are talking.

Edward Wang says:


How can you compare Apple to Nokia in terms of cell phone sales? That’s just crazy! Plus, how many years have the iPhone been on the market compare to the vast porfolio of Nokia phones? If Apple puts ints resource only into cell phone, I would have nothing to say, but what else does Nokia sells besides phone?

Crash says:

Re: iphone

You see this is not the point, Your boss Jobs wants folks to believe that Apple is selling X amount that puts them above everyone else when in reality they sell one phone for a little over a year 6 million is it? That may or may not be actually sold (dont forget about those that are still in the distribution channel not the consumers hands.) That phone may or may not be a smartphone,(no video conferencing, no copy / paste, limited and locked Buetooth capabilities, limited to 500 apps, limited to a propietory content distribution system, Everything must be approved by Stevo…. comeon where is the coolness of being told all this.
Ill take freedom over this

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...