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AT&T notches record 200K iPhone 4S pre-orders in 12 hrs [U]

updated 09:00 pm EDT, Fri October 7, 2011

ATT gets best ever iPhone pre-order launch

(Updated with Sprint shortage) AT&T late Friday said it had so far had its best iPhone launch ever after starting iPhone 4S preorders. The company had collected over 200,000 preorders just in the first 12 hours after opening up at midnight Pacific. It tried to credit the rush to its network, pointing out the "twice as fast" 14.4Mbps data and the inherent nature of the network letting calling and data co-exist at the same time.

Sprint and Verizon have yet to weigh in on their own results so far. As of Friday night, Apple still expected US preorders to ship in time for the October 14 launch day. International sales have hit delays, although these are primarily for unlocked models and might have been hampered by being rarer models.

Many have been waiting on sales figures more than usual for the iPhone 4S. An initially tepid reaction from analysts and certain fans led some to worry that Apple had delivered too modest an upgrade. Longer-term preorders and launch day lineups will still be important, but record preorders could hint that Apple stands to increase its sales.

Apple and AT&T are being helped by pent-up demand after iOS 5 and iCloud development delayed the iPhone 4S past the usual summer release schedule.

Update: Sprint's iPhone page lists the 16GB iPhone 4S as out of stock for preorders.

by MacNN Staff



  1. chas_m




    I knew it -- most people (ie not a bunch of nerds that bought into the rumour-sites lies) think this new iPhone is the BOMB -- everything that was good about the iPhone 4, plus MORE STUFF. For anyone who a) held on to their 3/3GS or is coming to the end of their two-year contract on the iPhone 4, this one is -- in fact -- a pretty compelling upgrade.

    This is the difference between normal people and hardcore nerds -- and a pretty clear sign of which group Apple caters to.

  1. bob.A

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Well, no one is really nearing the end of their two year commitment on the iPhone 4, its only been around for about 15 1/2 months. Mostly those fortunate enough to be granted early upgrades by AT&T will be getting them now, and in the next few months. I doubt many on iPhone 4 will buy out early just to get the 4S. The rest of the numbers clearly indicate much interest in the 4S.

    It does indicate there is a great deal of interest, despite the luke-warm reception it has gotten so far. Obviously being available on 3x as many carriers at launch (in the US) will help as well. Tons more carriers world wide will also boost numbers. Seems the 4S will do quite well despite its perceived lack of compelling new features/hardware.

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We all should wait...

    to see real-world usage reports. But like chas said, the updates are compelling:

    - Double the RAM

    - Double the processor

    - Dual auto-switching antennas

    - 7x Graphics power

    - 8 MP Camera, improved optics

    - 1080P Video with video stabilization

    - Up to 64 GB flash storage

    - Siri Voice/AI

    Even more compelling for those of us with v3 iPhones.

  1. Wingsy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sell Old, Buy New

    If someone in a contract with an iPhone4 really wants an iPhone4S they should have no trouble selling their iP4 and using the proceeds to pay their early termination fee. Or, transfer their existing contract (phones & all) to someone else for nothing, which is what I did when moving from the iP3G to the iP3GS. Once transferred to someone else you just walk in and buy the iP4S as a new customer. Downside is you lose your old number, and you lose your grandfathered unlimited plan if you have one. I found it very easy to find people to take over my contract -- they only signed up for the 1 year remaining on mine plus they got their phones absolutely free.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone 4S target market

    Apple knows everyone is on 2 year plans. They also know that most people don't pay the early termination fee just to have the latest phone. So the 4S is aimed at 3GS owners who are now off-contract and for first-time iPhone buyers who want the latest iPhone. And the 4S is a massive leap ahead of the 3GS in every way.

    The 2012 iPhone will be aimed at 2010 iPhone 4 owners coming off-contract, myself included. It'll be another massive leap ahead of the iPhone 4. And I'll be pre-ordering the moment the servers are activated.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And by the way...

    I don't care if the 2012 iPhone has a rounded aluminum back or a 3.75" screen instead of a 3.5" screen. In fact, I don't care if it looks exactly like the iPhone 4 and 4S. I'm not that shallow.

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sales tell the tale

    I find all these comments about "lukewarm" reception amusing; lukewarm from picky tech journalists and hardcore phone geeks posting in forums.

    This is probably news to the phone geeks and journalists, but they are not the majority of iPhone (or most other technology) purchasers. They might have been for the iPhone 1, but that stopped being true a long time ago. They don't even have much influence over purchasing anymore--the iPhone (and most Android handsets) are a major, mass-market product, so what self-important tech journalists say really has little to do with the actual perception, and more importantly sales, of the device.

    Besides, if Apple had released the exact same phone with some random cosmetic change and put a "5" in the name, the majority of the geeks would have been satisfied.

    And certainly, sales are looking to be good--selling out of all available pre-order devices within a day is a good sign, and 200K phones on one carrier within 12 hours does not sound lukewarm to me. It'll be interesting to see the final numbers, which look in all likelihood to best iPhone 4 (and therefore any smartphone preorder sales EVER) numbers with the "lukewarm" reception.

    Noteworthy: These same tech journalists and hardcore geeks proclaiming the iPhone 4S lukewarm less than two years ago proclaimed the iPad "underwhelming" or "lame" or "just a big iPod Touch", and told us it wouldn't sell well. The same device that singlehandedly destroyed the entire Netbook category, formerly beloved and anointed as the future of computing by those same tech journalists.

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