Verizon iPhone 4 May Have Been In-Store Fizzle: Rumor

Verizon's iPhone may not have been a blockbuster device right out the gate, according to limited sales numbers posted on Boy Genius Report.

Verizon's iPhone launch may have fizzled, according to a new Boy Genius Report posting.

"We're being told sales are performing a little under what Apple and Verizon anticipated, and we have the data to show it," reads the Feb. 16 missive. "Additionally, we have been told that online preorders between Verizon and Apple amounted to around 550,000 units."

The blog's "data," which came from an anonymous Apple source, combines Verizon iPhone 4 totals from five Apple stores for the device's first five days of availability. For Feb. 10, the Verizon iPhone 4's first day of wide release, those stores sold 909 units, vs. 539 AT&T iPhone 4s. Moreover, the Verizon numbers seemed to trend slightly downward throughout the reporting period; on the fifth day, those five stores' Verizon iPhone sales hit 711 units, compared with 618 for the AT&T version.

Obviously, a survey of five Apple stores is not comprehensive, especially since it excludes Verizon retail outlets. Nonetheless, the data hints that the Verizon iPhone 4 was not the initial blowout predicted by some analysts. When eWEEK visited a Verizon outlet in midtown Manhattan on the morning of Feb. 10, it found a short line of customers waiting for the iPhone 4-a scene apparently repeated at stores around the country.

Verizon claims that iPhone sales on the first day of preorder availability broke its preexisting first-day sales records, forcing the carrier to shut off sales by 8 p.m. The CDMA-based (Code Division Multiple Access-based) device retails for $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB, with a two-year contract.

Aside from tinkering with the exterior antenna rim to make it CDMA-compatible, the Verizon iPhone 4 bears little outside difference from the AT&T version in both hardware and software. Apple was apparently unwilling to make the hardware alterations necessary to make the iPhone 4 compatible with Verizon's LTE (Long-Term Evolution) 4G service, but Verizon nonetheless managed to squeeze in one added feature: support for a "Personal Hotspot," which connects up to five other devices via WiFi.

Boy Genius Report's posting broke down the supposed customer demographics, with 30 percent of Verizon iPhone 4 purchasers apparently "Android users," another 25 percent "BlackBerry users" and 14 percent "AT&T iPhone owners." Ahead of the iPhone's release on Verizon, analysts seemed in general agreement that some AT&T customers would jump carriers, although they suggested the bulk of new iPhone activations could come from existing Verizon customers upgrading their phones.