Analyst: Reaction to iPhone activation numbers ‘silly’

Apple shares dropped six percent yesterday, following AT&T’s announcement that it activated 146,000 iPhone subscribers in its second quarter — a number many believe indicates iPhone sales were below estimates. Michael Gartenberg, analyst for JupiterResearch, believes that number doesn’t matter. “It’s hard for Apple to have missed a target number when they gave none. What folks are talking about are some analysts’ somewhat wild expectations,” Gartenberg said. “The first two days mean nothing in the overall life of the product and the overall success of the iPhone won’t rest on how well this particular model does,” he continued. “The launch of the iPhone was the first move in what is likely to be a long game for Apple, trying to gauge the overall success based on two days of incomplete data is silly.”

RBC Capital has also commented on the situation, claiming that AT&T’s number has little bearing on Apple’s actual sales over the iPhone’s launch weekend. “AT&T reported 146k iPhone activations Q2 (June 29 and 30). However, this may not reflect Apple’s true Q3 sales, as AT&T excludes iPhone buyers who experienced activation delays (up to 40% – 50% of est. buyers), as well as additional units sold but not activated until after the weekend, as well as those purchased for gifts, and non-US buyers. Incorporating these factors suggests Apple may have sold 350-450k iPhones to users the first weekend,” said the firm. Exact iPhone sales figures are expected to be released along with Apple’s third quarter earnings statement at 5:00 pm Eastern time today.

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