The iPhone 4, which went on sale Thursday, has set a new
bar for Apple products. The company sold 1.7 million units of the device in its
first 72 hours of availability – a number it could have vastly exceeded if it
had been able to keep up with supply.
The sales numbers come from pre-orders and sales at Apple
stores nationwide. But the company gets a second bite at the apple today, when
the iPhone 4 goes on sale at AT&T stores. Demand is so strong that people
lined up outside of the cell phone carrier’s retail locations this morning, so
they could finally get their hands on the phone. Some lines reportedly were
over 100 people long.
“This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s
history,” said Apple chairman Steve Jobs in a statement. “Even so, we apologize
to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”
Most AT&T stores are likely to be unable to meet demand
as well – which (ironically) might make the device even more popular. (Nothing
boosts demand more than being unable to acquire something in the retail world.)
The demand, to some extent, was a created event. AT&T allowed
many customers to upgrade their existing iPhone without penalty, which helped
frontload demand for the new version.