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.

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

3 replies on “iPhone 4 : By The Numbers”

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