Apple has reported that it sold more than 1 million iPhone 3G S smartphones in the first three days of the device’s availability.
With 40 million iPhone OS devices already in circulation, as well as the availability of popular new options from competitors, such as the Palm Pre and Nokia N97, analysts predicted sales of 500,000 devices, about half of what it sold in 2008, when it introduced the iPhone 3G in 21 countries.
With the iPhone 3G S matching 2008’s sales, though this time initial availability was to only eight countries, Apple made clear once again that it’s the market leader.
“Evidently, they were able to generate enough interest in the iPhone, and with the new OS,” Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK.
“They must have benefited from a broadening interest in all that a connected phone can do. They’re riding a rising curve of popularity…and it paid off extremely well.”
More than taking customers from its competitors, Gottheil suggested Apple has done the work of creating a mobile culture in which the others can thrive.
“I don’t have any doubt that the success of the iPhone contributes to the success that Palm has had with Pre, or T-Mobile with the G1. … If the iPhone hadn’t come along [the other manufacturers] would have sold fewer devices, not more,” said Gottheil. “Apple has created explosive growth in this market.”
Apple additionally reported on June 22 that six million customers downloaded the new iPhone 3.0 software within the first five days of its release.
The 3.0 software offers previous iPhone users many of the updated features available in the iPhone 3G S, including Copy, Cut and Paste functionality, Spotlight – which lets users quickly search the entire device – the ability to use the keyboard in landscape mode and, for iPhone 3G users, MMS messaging.
The iPhone 3G S is offered in 16GB and 32GB models, up from the 8GB of the iPhone 3G S.
“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in a statement.
“With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”