Hot Phone 4S Preorder Sales Project Most Successful iPhone Launch To Date

Notwithstanding lugubrious predictions of an “epic fail” for Apple with the iPhone 4S, it looks like the company Jobs built has another out-of-the-park home run on its hands with the new handset,

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that AT&T alone sold 200,000 preordered 4Ss in just 12 hours, and by Friday evening, projected shipping dates had slipped to 1-2 weeks citing an AT&T spokesperson commenting that it’s “the most successful iPhone launch we’ve ever had.”

Elmer-DeWitt contends that anyone who had been harboring doubts that Apple could beat the record 1.7 million iPhone 4s sold in three days in June 2010, they can put them to rest, suggesting that it’s not much of a stretch to assume that Verizon also pre-sold some 200,000 units, and new Apple’s new service provider partner Sprint, with half the customer base of the other two carriers, could be reasonably assumed to have sold another 100,000, which if his guesstimate is ballpark accurate would cumulatively amount to half a million iPhone 4Ss moved in the U.S. alone in the first half-day of preorders, a pace outstripping the 600,000 iPhone 4 preorders taken in 24 hours on June 16, 2010.

Fortune’s resident Apple-watcher makes the observation that the iPhone 4S uses the same form factor as the iPhone 4 should make it easier for Apple to keep up with the prodigious demand, especially after the iPhone 4S launches in 22 more countries at the end of the month. Elmer-DeWitt also notes that while in June 2010, Apple had 154 carrier partners, a year later it was 228, and is surely more by now.

Businessweek’s Adam Satariano deduces that the rush of orders signals a lot of pent-up demand for the new iPhone after 16 months elapsing since the liPhone 4 debuted, but thinks that the iPhone 4S’s dual-core A5 chip that Apple claims will make graphics performance seven times faster than the previous model’s single-core A4 CPU, plus a new intelligent antenna system for improved call quality and ambidexterity between CDMA and GSM wireless standards probably have something to do with it as well.

PCWorld’s Christina DesMarais reports that demand was so high in the first hours of preordering, both Apple’s and AT&T’s online stores went down for brief periods, and that so many people have already ordered the new phone that Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and Apple online stores are all telling customers they’ll have to wait a little longer for delivery — as much as 21 days’ wait according to AT&T and even delivery of preorders for the $ 99 iPhone 4 8GB pushed back to 10 to 14 days.

4S EnRoute To Being Apple’s Most Successful Launch Ever

ModMyl’s Akshay Masand also predicts that when the presales tallies from Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom arrive, it seems inevitable that the iPhone 4S will prove to be be the most successful iPhone model yet, which seems pretty ironic after so many people complaining about being disappointed with the 4S.

So Who Is Buying The iPhone 4S?

BetaNews’s Joe Wilcox is running an online poll to hopefully shed some light on that, asking Will you buy iPhone 4S?”After nearly 4,000 responses from respondents in 82 countries, Wilcox reported provisionally that 58.48 percent say they will buy the iPhone 4S, noting that more than half of the cohort (35.46 percent) will be are upgrading from an older iPhone, while only 7.31 percent said they plan to switch to iPhone 4S from an Android handset, less than 1 percent from Windows Mobile/Phone, while 4.93 percent plan to switch from a BlackBerry, and 9.93 percent from “another phone” — brand unspecified.

As for the disappointed folks, 24.46 percent of the 41.5 percent of respondents who said they don’t plan on getting an iPhone 4S gave: “because iPhone 4S isn’t compelling enough” as their reason.


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