Apple is reporting sales of more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 smartphones for the three days following the device's June 24 launch. By comparison, Apple's previous smartphone, the iPhone 3GS, sold more than 1 million units during the three days following its release in June 2009.
"This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in a June 28 statement. "Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply."
Given the opening-day hoopla surrounding the iPhone 4's launch, such sales numbers were perhaps to be expected. News outlets from around the world reported epic lines at stores in major cities, and Apple channel partners such as Wal-Mart indicated that their stocks of the device were terminally low.
That followed a crunch of iPhone 4 presales, which managed to crash both Apple's and AT&T's ordering systems on June 15. Apple also announced on June 23 that production of the white-bodied iPhone 4 is encountering production delays, and will not be available until the second half of July.
The iPhone 4 retails with a two-year contract for $199 for the 16GB version, and $299 for the 32GB version. Features include a front-facing video camera for video conferencing, a larger battery and the new iOS4 operating system, which includes new tricks such as multitasking.
As the device rolled out to consumers over the weekend, reports emerged of a technical issue: Touching the device's metal antenna band, which runs along the outer rim, seemed to reduce certain users' reception to zero. Limited in-office tests by eWEEK were able to replicate the phenomenon. The tech blog Gizmodo-rapidly becoming Apple's b??Â¼te noire, thanks to its April dissection of a "lost" iPhone 4 prototype-immediately began posting video of users touching the phone's rim and making its reception bars disappear.
Apple felt duty-bound to respond.
"Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas," Apple wrote in a widely circulated June 25 statement. "If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the middle band, or simply use one of the many available cases."
Even as new iPhone 4 owners rushed to customize their devices, various analyst firms moved with equal speed to break down Apple's latest creation.
"Apple in the past has always doubled the amount of NAND flash memory in the newest version of its iPhone line," Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst for iSuppli's teardown services, wrote in a June 24 statement. "However, with the iPhone 4, Apple is standing pat at the 32GB level. This shows that the iPhone has reached the point where data-storage memory is no longer one of the most critical features. Instead, the focus has shifted to the UI, with the major innovations of the iPhone 4 occurring in areas including the retina display, as well as the use of gyroscope-based control."
While iSuppli expects that the iPhone 4 will feature a version of the iPad's proprietary A4 processor, the firm's research note suggests that the iPhone's chip "likely will operate at a slower clock speed than the 1GHz frequency in the iPad-most likely at 800MHz." In addition, "the iPhone's A4 is likely to add additional accelerator cores for encoding/decoding High-Definition (HD) video, supporting the phone's HD camera."
Apple's mobile devices have performed spectacularly in the marketplace as of late, with the company recently reporting sales of some 3 million iPads.