The iPhone 4, which went on sale Thursday, has set a new bar for Apple products. The company sold 1.7 million units of the device in its first 72 hours of availability – a number it could have vastly exceeded if it had been able to keep up with supply.
The sales numbers come from pre-orders and sales at Apple stores nationwide. But the company gets a second bite at the apple today, when the iPhone 4 goes on sale at AT&T stores. Demand is so strong that people lined up outside of the cell phone carrier’s retail locations this morning, so they could finally get their hands on the phone. Some lines reportedly were over 100 people long.
“This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history,” said Apple chairman Steve Jobs in a statement. “Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”
Most AT&T stores are likely to be unable to meet demand as well – which (ironically) might make the device even more popular. (Nothing boosts demand more than being unable to acquire something in the retail world.)
The demand, to some extent, was a created event. AT&T allowed many customers to upgrade their existing iPhone without penalty, which helped frontload demand for the new version.
That’s not to say it doesn’t have a host of new features, though. The iPhone 4 has the ability to shoot high definition video and easily edit it on the phone. The device will record video at resolutions of up to 720p, shooting at 30 fps – making the new iPhone a possible tool for guerilla video shoots from indie filmmakers.
The company also plans to offer its iMovie program as an app for just $4.99, letting users quickly edit films shot on their iPhone and upload it to the Web.
Apple also will dramatically increase the quality of the iPhone’s screen, offering what it says is four times the quality of the iPhone 3GS. The new device is capable of resolutions of 960 x 640, according to Jobs.
It’s also 24 percent thinner than the 3GS model.