Apple Easily Surpasses 10 Million iPhone Goal

By  |  Monday, October 6, 2008 at 10:27 am

When Apple first made its lofty projections to sell 10 million iPhones during 2008, some thought the company’s projections were overly optimistic. That may not be the case anymore if research by Apple enthusiast site Mac Observer is to be believed.

The data compiled by the site’s “Apple Finance Board” have taken a look at the IMEI numbers of shipped iPhone 3Gs as a way to estimate the total number of iPhone 3Gs shipped and compiled them into a spreadsheet. IMEI’s are issued in an specific order and can be used to figure out how many phones have been produced.

As to how this works, I’ll let the report’s author explain it.

One 6 digit number, known as the TAC, or Type Allocation Code, signifies a particular build or set of iPhones being manufactured. The second 6 digit number is unique to each individual iPhone produced in that particular series—so that 1 million iPhones can be registered to a specific TAC.

Using this data, the Mac Observer team estimates that Apple may have sold as many as 9.2 million iPhone 3Gs: a staggering statistic. Even allowing for 1.5 million iPhone 3G’s to still sit unsold, some 7.6 million units would already be in consumer’s hands. This would mean Apple would have sold 10 million phones already when adding in first-generation iPhone sales.

Moreover, the number of phones sold during the quarter will number between 7 to 7.5 million, 80% higher than analyst’s estimates, and a number that should please any Apple shareholder.

More evidence that this could be the case can be gleaned from looking at operating system market share data from Net Applications. From July to August the iPhone’s overall operating system share nearly doubled from .19 percent to .30 percent, which the report’s authors suggest that it indicates an increase of iPhones in the market of around 6.75 million.

I will fully admit here, while at BetaNews, I was one of those people in the press that did publicly question Apple’s 10 million device goal prior to the iPhone 3G. Let’s be honest here: Apple allowing its phones to be sold with the subsidy that is common with other devices was something that nobody saw coming.

The reason why Apple is wiping the floor with its competitors right now is simple, and that’s price. At $199, it is at that sweet spot for smartphones. For whatever reason, $200 seems to be that magic price point for a lot of high-tech electronics. When RIM started getting its devices below that $200 level, the device made the jump from the toy of Wall Street businessmen to the must-have accessory for busy soccer moms.

Speaking of other people who were wrong? Verizon Wireless. NPD released data Monday that showed that one in three iPhone 3G customers switched from another carrier for the device, with 46 percent of them coming from Verizon. Oops, should have taken up Apple’s offer when you had the chance!

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