The meme is rapidly beginning to take hold today that iPhone takeup has been considerably more tepid than many (myself included) expected. The most recent impetus has been the 146,000 new-subs number today from AT&T, which is lower than most people expected for the first two days of iPhone sales. At the same time, in-store checks by analysts and others (including yours truly) show that iPhone is moving much slower than it was before, and Apple stores have ’em in serious quantity).
So, is iPhone failing? I think not, or at least not yet. First, this subs number is not a units number. Granted, you would expect them to be correlated, but it is a lower bound to the number of iPhone sold. While I’m not suggesting, as some are, that AT&T’s activation process held things back by two-thirds, there is also lots of reason to suspect that activations and units were materially different. That won’t continue, of course, but it was true on the first weekend.
Second, the in-store frenzy had to abate, so seeing slowing units isn’t a surprise at all. iPhone are not impulse buys — a two-year contract does temper that sort of thing — so no-one should be entirely surprised.
Am I totally sanguine? No. As I related here earlier, this is more of a consumer product than I expected, and I found the keyboard frustrating to work with, which is a big deal given my messaging dependence. At the same time, it seems increasingly clear that a 3G version of the device will be out by late this year — analysts are saying the same thing today — and that suspicion is going to temper sales further in the coming months.