updated 03:05 pm EDT, Thu June 18, 2009
Piper on iPhone 3GS launch
Approximately 500,000 units of the iPhone 3GS will likely be sold this weekend, says Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster. The analyst notes that while this represents relatively high demand, there are several mitigating factors which should make the 3GS launch pale compared to that of the 3G, which saw over a million phones pass by registers. Foremost is that the 3GS is a "less dramatic change in value proposition" according to Munster, not so much in terms of features as pricing.
"In 2008, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G at $199, a 50 percent reduction from the previous model, which drove demand up significantly," Munster observes. As the 3GS also starts at $199, it is unlikely to draw in anyone through affordability. People looking for a cheaper Apple smartphone will probably gravitate towards the legacy 8GB 3G, now priced at $99.
The 3GS is also launching in just eight countries to begin with, as compared to the 21 that saw in the 3G. While the original iPhone premiered only in the United States however, it still managed to sell roughly 200,000 units in two days.
The combined sales of the 3G and 3GS is said to support Piper Jaffray estimates of 5 million in total sales for the June quarter, including 2.5 million in June sales of the original iPhone 3G and 500,000 of the newer iPhone 3GS devices.
Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets is meanwhile predicting shipments of between 500,000 and 700,000 3GS units this weekend, based on a build-up of demand. In a June RBC/ChangeWave survey, Abramsky notes, some 44 percent of smartphone buyers said they were interested in buying an iPhone in the next 90 days. December and March survey figures put interest at only 30 percent.