Cupertino, Calif. — Consumers worldwide bought more than 1 million iPhone 3G S smartphones during the first three days of availability, matching sales of iPhone 3G models during their first three days of availability in 2008, according to statistics released by Apple.
This year’s sales pace, however, is faster when considering the number of countries in which the 3G S was available during the period. During its first three days of availability, the 3G S was available only in eight countries whereas last year, the 3G was available in 21 countries during its first three days, an Apple spokeswoman told TWICE.
This year’s tally represents 3G S sales from June 19-21 but doesn’t include sales of the iPhone 3G, which was re-priced down to $99 and continues to be offered.
Though the numbers are impressive, Apple’s iPhone sales would be a lot higher if not for consumers’ concerns about the high cost of the iPhones’ bundled data plans and exclusivity on the AT&T network in the U.S., an NPD Group consumer survey shows.
The 3G’s $99 price promises to expand Apple’s cellphone market share, but “data plan pricing and exclusivity remain key obstacles for iPhone adoption,” NPD said. One in five U.S. mobile phone users who don’t own an iPhone would like one, but 18 percent of them haven’t bought one because of the monthly data-plan expense, NPD found, and 21 percent said they don’t want to switch from their current carrier to AT&T, which is the exclusive service provider for iPhones.
“Many potential iPhone buyers are looking past lower device prices to recognize the greater expense of a two-year monthly data plan commitment,” said NPD industry analysis director Ross Rubin. “Furthermore, customers of other carriers, particularly Verizon Wireless, are unwilling to make the perceived compromises that might come with switching to AT&T."
NPD based its conclusions on an online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,579 U.S. adults who purchased their own cellphone. The survey excludes people using phones supplied by their company.
In another announcement, Apple said 6 million consumers downloaded the new iPhone 3.0 software in the first five days of its release.
The iPhone 3G and 3G S are Wi-Fi-equipped worldphones operating in quadband EDGE mode and in HSDPA mode in the 850/1900/2100MHz bands. The iPhone 3G S is available in the U.S. in 16GB and 32GB capacities at $199 and $299, respectively. The re-priced 8GB iPhone 3G is $99, down from $199.
Compared to the 3G, the 3G S adds 3-megapixel camera, up from 2 megapixels; 7.2Mbps HSPA cellular data, up from 3.6Mbps; digital compass integrated with map displays; voice control of phone functions and applications; faster application launch times; longer battery life for Wi-Fi and media playback; and OpenGL ES 2.0 standard for improved 3D graphics.
The new models’ iPhone 3.0 OS, also available as a download for the iPhone 3G, enables more than 100 new features, including:
30 fps video capture with ability to post videos to the Web or send them by email or MMS (AT&T will enable iPhone 3G and 3G S MMS in the summer):
the ability to cut and paste text across multiple applications;
searching for keywords across multiple applications;
background notification of text and instant messages via sound, text or badge alerts;
peer-to-peer Bluetooth connections;
shake to shuffle;
automatic log-in at Wi-Fi hot spots;
access to Google and Yahoo shared calendars;
the ability to forward and delete multiple messages;
parental controls for TV shows, movies and apps from the iTunes Store; and
the ability to view email in landscape mode and type emails on a landscape-mode virtual keyboard, not just on a portrait-mode keyboard.