New iPhone Exceeds Expectations

by Nicole Caldwell

Apple’s June 19 release of the newest iPhone exceeded sales forecasts of 500,000 in its first weekend, with numbers matching those of the phone’s previous incarnation last year, according to the company.

“We sold over a million of our Apple 3GS model over the weekend,” Natalie Kerris, a public relations representative from Apple, told the Times Square Chronicle. “Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, added in a June 22 press release. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

Expectations for popularity of the 3GS were likely diminished due to a smaller international release, fewer technological advances, and increasing competition in the smartphone market.

The 3GS was released in eight countries on its first day, as compared to its predecessor, which was released in 21. The 3GS also comes equipped with fewer advances, notably the capability to capture and edit video, the implementation of voice commands, and double the speed of last year’s iPhone 3G. The phone is, however, still unable to run multiple programs at once.
The 3GS is the third version of Apple’s smartphone. The company has lately been under pressure to add new features to its iPhone in the face of major smartphone advances from companies such as Palm Inc.'s Pre phone and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry Tour.

At least 500 people lined up before Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue opened on the 19th, and a steady stream of customers visited Apple stores internationally. The 3GS costs $199 for a 16GB model; the new 32GB model costs $299 with a mandatory two-year contract. The iPhone 3G is has dropped in price to $99 for the 8GB model; perhaps an attempt to stay competitive with other brands’ less expensive versions of smartphones.

Delays faced while trying to activate the new phones were met with Apple offering $30 iTunes gift cards to those customers. The offer was made in an e-mail by Apple alerting its customers to the delays, and explaining these were caused by high traffic and system problems.

[Originally published in The Times Square Chronicle, June 24, 2009]