Apple announced today that it has sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S smartphones since first product availability on Friday. That’s 4 million units in three days selling for $199 at AT&T to $649 for an unlocked iPhone 4S bought directly from Apple. I put that at $1B or more at the retail level. The actual value to Apple isn’t yet known with all of the carrier subsidies involved. Considering that the iPhone 4S wasn’t perceived as a “major” upgrade, that’s not a bad chunk of change—in anyone’s ledger.
Let’s be clear here. There’s lots of great hardware inside of the iPhone 4S. There’s a dual-core ARM processor. There’s an 8Mpixel camera. There are MEMS acceleration and gyro sensors. There’s both GSM and CDMA compatibility. There’s WiFi and Bluetooth. There’s a great screen. Etc, etc, etc. These aren’t the things selling the iPhone 4S. It’s what these hardware capabilities mean in terms of the apps it can run—what the phone can do—that’s selling the iPhone 4S. And kudos to Apple for emphasizing the things that will sell the phone.
Want to know how fast that dual-core processor is being clocked? Apple won’t tell you. Apple’s Web page for the iPhone 4S simply says “iPhone 4S is quick and responsive, which makes all the difference when you’re launching apps, browsing the web, gaming, and doing just about everything,” which of course is precisely what the end customer really cares about. The actual clock rate in MHz is a proxy that we’ve become accustomed to using in the PC world to substitute for the words Apple actually used. (Note: If you really want to see an estimate of the clock rate used for the A5 processor in the iPhone, see this benchmark article. Hint, it looks to be 800MHz.)
And front and center for the primary new “app” selling the iPhone 4S is Siri, the “Artificially Intelligent Assistant” built into the iPhone 4S. Is Siri “insanely great” as the late Steve Jobs would say, or “amazingly amazing” as Zaphod Beeblebrox would say? Perhaps.
It doesn’t matter what I think or even what the fictional former President of the Galaxy thinks. What matters is that 4 million people already think Siri and the iPhone 4S are both insanely great and amazingly amazing.
“It’s an apps-driven galaxy, folks.” – The Hitchhikers Guide to EDA360.