Verizon stops taking iPhone pre-orders after setting unspecified 'record'
Verizon stopped taking pre-orders for its version of the iPhone 4 at 8:10 last night--and it clocked so many that it hasn't finished counting them.
That's one way to read this morning's press release, in which the carrier uses a variety of phrases--"record sales," "the most successful first day sales in the history of the company," "unprecedented customer orders"--without actually giving a number of iPhones sold.
There is a bit of a precedent for this. Amazon has yet to say how many Kindles it's sold in the more than three years since its first e-book reader debuted; its latest press release on the subject did not feature a number more specific than "millions."
By way of context, when the iPhone 4 debuted last June, Apple said the company and all the carriers selling that device worldwide took in 600,000 orders on the first day.
Verizon's most successful phone launch before the iPhone was probably the Motorola Droid; one research firm estimated that Verizon sold 250,000 units of that Android-based smartphone in its first week.
So maybe we're looking at 500,000 pre-orders, to cite one recent prediction?
Whatever the figure, it will certainly increase once Verizon and Apple start selling the Verizon flavor of the iPhone to new customers on Feb. 10. (In other words: No, the Verizon iPhone hasn't sold out.) I'd like to think that after three years of Apple selling smartphones, people have learned from experience and won't queue up before dawn to buy the latest model on its first day on sale--but I'm afraid that's exactly what we'll see next Thursday.
(Online sales start at 3:01 a.m. on Feb. 9, if you simply can't wait.)
Equally predictable: We will be hearing from upset Verizon customers who can't buy this thing at the new-or-renewing price of $199.99 for its 16-gigabyte version and $299.99 for the 32 GB model. Verizon can blame itself for some confusion here--it just changed its policy but hasn't documented this anywhere I could find on its site, leaving news reports as the best reference. But in any case: You'll need to be 20 months into an existing contract to get that most-favored-customer price. Otherwise, you'd pay $649.99 for a 16 GB iPhone or $749.99 for its 32 GB edition.
That's about average for the big wireless carriers. AT&T lets customers on its most expensive plans trade up at the new-customer price 13 months in; most smartphone users will have to wait until 18 months have gone by, while users on its cheapest voice-data bundles don't get that discount until 21 months. Sprint makes subscribers wait until they're 22 months into a two-year deal to get a full discount, although smaller price breaks become available 12 months in. T-Mobile mirrors Sprint's policy.
You don't have to like those rules, but you also can't do much about them. On the other hand, it won't kill you to stick with an older device for another few months. Because even the Verizon iPhone is still just a phone. Right?
| February 4, 2011; 9:16 AM ET
Categories: Mobile, Telecom, The business we have chosen
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