Apple iPhone 4S Won't Be as Successful as Expected: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: Apple's iPhone 4S will undoubtedly sell well, but just how well? Sales might not be as robust as previous models. It will be important to look closely at those sales figures when they come out.

The iPhone 4S is scheduled to hit store shelves on Oct. 14. And when it does, the device will no doubt sell extremely well as consumers around the globe flock to stores to be first in line to get Apple's newest smartphone.

Already, consumers have been getting in on the fun. On Oct. 10, Apple announced that the iPhone 4S has set a new preorder record, selling 1 million devices in a single day. Immediately, reports from analysts suggested that the iPhone 4S, based on those figures and the history of Apple's product launches, will be an unbridled success that could overshadow all previous iPhone launches.

While it's tough to argue with that, it's not so tough to assert that Apple's iPhone 4S might not be as successful as some think. Will it be a hit? Sure. But will it be a huge hit? Believe it or not, it might not be.

Read on to find out why:

1. There's more to the preorder story

Much has been made about the iPhone 4S setting a new preorder record and eclipsing the mark set by the iPhone 4. However, it's worth noting that the device's 1 million preorders came from Sprint, AT&T and Verizon customers. The iPhone 4, on the other hand, saw preorders from AT&T alone. Considering that, it doesn't appear that the iPhone 4S preorders were nearly as impressive as Apple wants folks to believe. If preorders aren't all that impressive, what could that mean for future sales?

2. Consumers are still waiting on the iPhone 5

Let's face it: The Oct. 4 Apple event to unveil the new iPhone was a downright disappointment. Prior to the show, rumors suggested Apple would show off an iPhone 5 that would come with a bigger display, near-field communication technology and much more. But it didn't. Now, consumers are left with a device that is an iterative update over the iPhone 4 that might make them want to wait until the iPhone 5 launches. After all, they might be saying, it can't be that far off, right?

3. iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 could hurt iPhone 4S sales

Apple's decision to sell the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 alongside the iPhone 4S is a smart move from a financial perspective. However, that decision could come back to haunt the company when it comes to iPhone 4S sales. After all, the iPhone 3GS is now available typically for free with a two-year carrier service contract, and the iPhone 4 can be purchased for as little as $99. Granted, they deliver less storage, but since they'll run iOS 5 and are fine products in their own right, they might cannibalize some iPhone 4S sales.

4. Don't look past the economy

It's easy to see the iPhone 4S on store shelves and, considering Apple's history, immediately assume the device will sell extremely well. But that scenario leaves out the fact that the world financial markets are still worried about the national debt crisis in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and elsewhere. With unemployment so high, there are millions around the globe who just aren't willing to spend at least $200 on a new iPhone 4S. Depending on how the economy goes, Apple's iPhone 4S sales could be weaker than expected.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...