iPhone 4 : By The Numbers

There are a lot of stories today about the Steve Jobs press conference. I thought I’d mine the stories for data about the iPhone 4. Not too surprising, but the negative press lens that I recall from the 1990s seems to be firmly in place.

I’m getting an iPhone 4 next week (I hope – the order was placed last Friday) because my 3GS went for a swim (well, more like wading than swimming) in Katie’s water bowl. Thus I’m getting the phone a lot sooner than I had planned (with AT&T getting a $200 bonus for my early upgrade – more on that racket later).

Here goes:

  • Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in the first three days. BusinessWeek
  • More than 3 million iPhone 4 units have sold since it went on sale June 24th. USAToday
  • Consumer Reports notes reception issues are non-existent if the phone has a bumper. USAToday
  • The return rate for the iPhone 4 to AT&T Inc. is only 1.7%: less than a third of the 6% return rate for the iPhone 3GS. (One assumes for the same sales period.) WSJ, BusinessWeek
  • The rate of dropped calls for the iPhone 4 is only slightly more than on the iPhone 3GS. WSJ
  • Thus the iPhone4 drops less than 1 additional call per 100 than the older iPhone 3GS. BusinessWeek
  • Apple has invested $100 million in antenna technology. BusinessWeek
  • Free bumpers: cost estimated at $3 each (makes that $29 MSRP look like gouging, doesn’t it?) WSJ
  • Was the press conference truly “hasily-called” (PC Worldsic). It was announced on Wednesday. Two days warning is “hasty”? Added: According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Apple has never given only 48 hours notice for a press conference to “talk about bad press.” Fine. I still contend the 48 hours in a Twitter/Facebook-status world is not “hasty.”
  • The iPhone accounts for about 40 percent of Apple’s revenue. BusinessWeek
  • The wait for an iPhone4 is now 2-3 weeks. BusinessWeek
  • Less than 1 percent of iPhone 4 users have called to complain about the phone. BusinessWeek
  • On July 30, the iPhone 4 will launch in an additional 17 countries. Apple Insider
  • Added: Only 0.55 percent of all calls to the AppleCare line are regarding an issue with the iPhone’s antenna. Chicago ST
  • Added: It’s also clear that when the iPhone 4 is in a case — even Apple’s simple “bumper” case — the antenna issue disappears entirely. Chicago ST
  • Added: The iPhone 4 data rates still beat the iPhone 3G data rates under all grip conditions. AntennaSys

A few other bits that aren’t in the mainstream press:

  • Steve Jobs calls the Bloomberg article “total bullshit.” ZD has provided a transcript of the Q&A. The Bloomberg article asserts that Jobs knew there was an antenna/recepton problem before launch.
  • Steve does not use a case. ZD
  • The NYT article that said a software fix is coming is “patently false.” ZD

One quote that sums up my feeling about this:

We’ve been around for 34 years… haven’t we earned the credibility and the trust of the press? I think we have that from our users. I didn’t see it exhibited by some of the press as this was blown so far out of proportion. I’m not saying we didn’t make a mistake — we didn’t know that it would have these issues, we didn’t know we were putting a bull’s eye on the phone… but this has been so overblown. ZD

About the AT&T Network: 

when AT&T wants to add a cell tower in Texas, it takes about three weeks… when they want to add one in SF, it takes three years. ZD

Added at 12.55 pm: here’s an example of the negative hyperbole, from Newsweek (soon to be dead-and-buried)

By refusing to acknowledge the problem, Jobs just reinforced the image of Apple as a company that is in deep denial and unable to admit a mistake—a company that has for so long been able to bend reality to suit its needs that it now has lost touch with reality itself.

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