iPhone 4: The Most Popular iProduct Ever

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After this weekend, I’m all out of reasons to refer to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) as “Mac maker.” Long lines, ridiculous offers, and crazy promotions helped the iProducts producer -- see the switch there? -- execute its most successful debut to date: 1.7 million iPhone 4 handsets sold since Thursday, Apple announced this morning.

And that’s with widespread reports of reception issues caused by what some consider a design flaw. (Some users report that holding the handset a certain way, without a cover, interferes with the antenna.)

"This is the most successful product launch in Apple's history. Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release.

Initial plans to accommodate walk-in customers at AT&T’s (NYSE: T  ) stores, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) , and electronics retailers Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) and Radio Shack (NYSE: RSH  ) proved to be more wishful thinking than reality. Hence Jobs’ apology; volume retailers are essential to Apple’s strategy of saturating the market.

The misstep also leaves room for Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , both of which either have or are planning to introduce new devices.

But not much room. At 1.7 million handsets sold in four short supply-limited days, Apple has grown its worldwide iPhone installed base by 3.4%. (From 50 million to 51.7 million.) The iPad needed 80 days to reach 3 million sold.

Investors aren’t reacting much to this news as I write this, but they should be. My friend Erik Sherman over at BNET has it right: With these sorts of launches, Apple could soon be the biggest tech company both by market cap and revenue. That’s premium performance, and deserving of a premium stock price.

Would you buy Apple at these levels? Weigh in using the comments box below. You can also rate the stock in Motley Fool CAPS.

Apple and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Best Buy and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position for Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is enjoying the view from its digital villa.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2010, at 2:28 PM, demodave wrote:

    I like AAPL at its current price based on forward forecasts. I particularly like it for being up from where I bought it - both long agomand recently.

    I think a new CDMA/LTE radio has very strong potential, too, whenever Apple eventually makes that move. My guess would be 2011.

    I'm really looking forward to 2010 Q2 results.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2010, at 2:31 PM, plange01 wrote:

    the ipod will always be apples best product.the iphone will see the begining of its decline as has all other companys that reach such a high level through speculation...

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2010, at 4:02 PM, militauro wrote:

    I don't like when the argument of "leaving the door open for Motorola" or [Insert any other phone manufacturer]. How many people do you know that are already set on a phone but decide to get another one because they couldn't buy it initially? Phones don't work that way. If you want a phone, you don't just get another one because yours isn't there. There might be a couple exceptions, but I'd bet anything in my pocket that people who wanted an iPhone 4 will end up with an iPhone 4...eventually.

  • Report this Comment On June 28, 2010, at 8:09 PM, tjsimone wrote:

    Where did you come up with these figures....way off!

    "Expectations were 12 million iPhone 4 sold on the first day if enough iPhone 4 were made by Foxconn. First year sales of iPhone 4 should be 110 million if Foxconn can deliver."

    Appe expected 600K sales first week, and did about 2M...

    and NO way on earth they get 110 Million iphone subscribers in the next year....

    AT&T presently has 85 Million TOTAL subscribers to ALL PHONES they sell..

    and 77% of sales were to old iphone customers....&21% of AT& T customers switched to an Iphone...

    So even if EVERY ATT customer switched to Iphone this year...& they got 10% of verizion customers ( 95Million ) to switch, which is outrageous... thats would be 95 million Iphone 4 sales....

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2010, at 12:19 PM, Babble100 wrote:

    At about $70 or more a month for a contract, all the smartphones are leaving a soft plump underbelly for some bottom feeder to start chomping on. Sooner or later it will happen.

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