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Apple: More than 1 million iPhone 3G S units sold

June 22, 2009 |  1:02 pm
IPhone 3GS
Apple has sold more than 1 million units of its iPhone 3G S, which launched Friday. Credit: Apple

Apple this morning announced it had sold more than 1 million units of its iPhone 3G S by the end of the weekend.

Although the iPhone was available in stores starting Friday, buyers were able to pre-order beginning June 9 -- that is, until AT&T and other retailers depleted their allotment of pre-orders five days before the iPhone was to go on sale. That led to some shorter lines at stores this weekend compared to last July when Apple  debuted its iPhone 3G, which also sold a million units during its first weekend on sale.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs crowed in a statement, "Consumers are voting, and the iPhone is winning." Jobs, who has remained largely out of sight since taking a medical leave of absence in January, has reportedly undergone a liver transplant, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple this weekend said Jobs will return in a week or two in an advisory capacity.

The Cupertino, Calif., company, which launched the iPhone two years ago, had sold more than 21 million units as of March 28, according to its second-quarter financial report. By the end of the year, Apple is projected to have carved up 10% of the global market for the fast-growing smartphone category, up from 8.4% in 2008, according to iSuppli, a research firm in El Segundo.

"The good news is that smartphones are really on a tear," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with technology research firm Gartner. "From May this year to January of next year, you will see more smartphone announcements than you have ever seen before. Even with a down economy, I joke that food, shelter, clothing and now smartphones are becoming an essential part of people’s lives."

Earlier this month ...

... Palm launched its Palm Pre, widely seen as a rival to the iPhone. And today, T-Mobile is introducing myTouch, a smart phone that features Google's Android operating system.

Apple, Google and Palm are all tapping into a desire by consumers to share photos, documents and games with their friends in a much more open setting than previously allowed by the vast majority of other cellphones, said Dulaney. Prior to the iPhone, for example, most carriers determined what applications their subscribers had access to. Many of them charged users for the ability to share photos taken by the cellphone's cameras.

"These carriers were not very good at distributing content," Dulaney said. "They never got past a few simple ringtones and a few minor downloads of things like games. We owe it to Apple and Google for breaking that up and turning cellphones into computing platforms with a robust ecosystem of applications behind it."

Apple's iTunes store, for example, features more than 50,000 iPhone apps, or bite-sized software programs that run the gamut of uses, including games and news as well as photo sharing and social networking. According to Apple, consumers have downloaded more than a billion apps to their iPhones or iPod Touch devices. 

"With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store," Jobs said in his statement, "iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

-- Alex Pham