When the iPhone 4 on Verizon became available for pre-order a few weeks ago, the device, in just a few hours, became Verizon’s fastest selling product launch in company history. When the CDMA iPhone subsequently became available to the masses, analysts were perplexed by conspicuously short lines at Apple retail stores. Over the past few years, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing laughably long lines at every iPhone release. As a result, people began wondering if the Verizon launch had failed to live up to initial expectations.
Not so fast, says Verizon CEO Dan Mead.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Mead once again reiterated that “Verizon Wireless sold more iPhone 4s during its initial launch than any other product in the carrier’s history.”
So what really matters here is the metrics used to examine the launch. Are we gauging the success of the iPhone 4 from the perspective of Verizon or by comparing the launch to past iPhone launches on AT&T. Indeed, using the latter as a basis of comparison isn’t entirely congruent given that past launches focused on entirely new devices while the CDMA iPhone 4 is, by and large, the exact same iPhone that’s been around for more than 7 months.
Mead was unwilling to disclose specific sales figures, but said that “reports of lackluster sales were incorrect” and that the dearth of long lines was by design.
Mr. Mead said the company staggered the launch of the Apple Inc. device in phases so that customers would have a smooth purchasing experience. “It was a conscious decision to spread the launch over three phases,” said Mr. Mead.
Fair enough, though BGR last week divulged sensitive sales information suggesting that sales of the CDMA iPhone, for as well as they did, were a little below what Apple and Verizon were anticipating. Going forward, Verizon is planning to double the number of retail stores that sell the iPhone (from 4,000 to 8,000) and we’ll really be able to gauge the impact of the CDMA iPhone once the iPhone 5 is released.
Looking ahead, Mead intimated that LTE devices from Apple were in the works.
“You’ll see more coming from Apple on LTE,” Mead bluntly stated. “They understand the value proposition of LTE and I feel very confident that they are going to be a part of it.”