AT&T: 3.6M iPhones Activated in Q1

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AT&T still has that iPhone charmAT&T activated 3.6 million iPhones during its first fiscal quarter for 2011, up about a million compared to the same quarter last year. About 23 percent of those activations were new to the company even with Verizon selling the iPhone.

AT&T said its iPhone subscriber churn rate remained unchanged year over year, too.

The cell service provider sold some 5.5 million smartphones for the quarter, accounting for about 65 percent of the company’s post-paid phone sales.

Overall, AT&T is up 2 million subscribers for the quarter, brining its total up to 97.5 million. Quarterly revenue hit US$31.2 billion, up 2.3 percent, and wireless revenue hit $15.3 billion, up about 10.2 percent.

With AT&T’s iPhone user count on the rise, it seems that concerns over customers leaving in droves for Verizon once it began selling Apple’s combination iPod and smartphone earlier this year were unwarranted.

Apple will be hosting its second quarter earnings conference call after the market closes this afternoon. The company will likely share more information about iPhone sales figures, so be sure to check in with The Mac Observer for our event coverage.

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Joel Sutton

5.5 million smart phones
3.6 million iPhones

that leaves only 1.9 million to android, Windows, Palm, etc . . . . I don’t see that Android is “killing” iOS as some people say.


Joel, your comment has sparked further thought.

I should add: the ‘Apple dying’, ‘Apple reduced to niche status’ riff is one that is almost uniquely applied to Apple and is based on only one phenomenon; Microsoft’s (it used to be said ‘IBM’s’) rise to PC platform dominance over Apple - an event without industrial parallel and one that has shadowed Apple’s every move since.

Despite record gains, trans-industry outperformance (traditional computers, MP3 players, smartphones, entertainment, and now tablets) if not outright dominance (MP3 players, tablets, entertainment), pundits hound Apple’s every move with the siren call of impending doom. Indeed, each of these, including Apple’s most recent gains in the tablet market, has been accompanied by learned predictions of its impending relegation to niche status as soon as anyone other than Apple enters the fray. Apple, in any market it enters, will be displaced, goes the dogma, as easily as if it were never even there by anyone, however mediocre their offerings, and will be reduced to single-digit market share. More than titillating click-bait, it has become an industrial preoccupation and investor neurosis. One generally does not see these predictions of morbidity and mortality applied to other companies and their products. Even when a product flops, pundits seldom link the fate of the entire company to a lone product, or even a string of them (Microsoft, Google, Nokia). Despite Apple?s superior market cap and relative industry performance compared to any of these companies, Apple alone is tarred with this image of exquisite vulnerability and tenuousness.

Not only are these predictions based on a single phenomenon without precedent or encore (hence, the definition of an anomaly), but on overly simplistic models that fail to account for, let alone successfully predict, other extant observations, trends and outcomes. In my profession, such models and publications would be a professional death sentence and a fast-track to career change (perhaps to becoming a tech pundit).

Without doubt, Android smartphone market share has skyrocketed and surpassed that of Apple both in the US and overall global market.

What does that mean? At the moment, it is unclear. Globally, what it does not necessarily reflect is popular choice. I work in parts of the world where, if you want a smartphone, your choices are limited often to only Nokia, but more recently Android (RIM and Apple are only just now entering some of these low-income markets, if at all). This has nothing to do with popularity, let alone choice other than to embrace the technology.

What it does not mean is that Apple is in the ICU on a ventilator and pressor support awaiting death. In fact, Apple?s Q2 earnings report this afternoon will most likely, and once again, give the lie to any notion of Apple?s impending doom, or that of the iPhone.

Android’s rise to smartphone market share dominance, in my opinion, as a good thing for Apple, the industry and consumers. It addresses a need that Apple will likely never fill, particularly the very low end (think developing countries), thereby putting new technology in the hands of most of the world’s people, one the one hand; and providing Apple with incentive and opportunity for innovation on the cutting edge, on the other, which in turn will continue to guide the industry. This benefits everyone. This, and not death and extinction, has been Apple?s actual contribution and performance with traditional computers, operating systems (Mac and iOS), smartphones and tablets. Just as with Microsoft and the Mac, without Android, the iOS and the iPhone could not be the industry beacons and standards that they have become.

Ross Edwards

What it does not mean is that Apple is in the ICU on a ventilator and pressor support awaiting death.

THANK you.  I hear this crap so often it’s nice to hear it reinforced that it’s an absolute canard.

I guess the beating IBM put on Apple in the 1980s and early 1990s was just so savage that people figured it’s inevitable that it will happen again—that such a beating could only have been possible because of some intrinsic problem with Apple’s very foundation.  Apple must just be defective to the core, pun regretted.

And, you know?  Back in 1996 or so, it seemed like that was probably the truth.  Apple had nothing going, PCs were where all the innovation was happening, and Jobs was off doing whatever.  But then he came back… and then sometime around 2001-2002, when DVD burning was all the new rage, Apple picked up the ball and started really moving with that in a way most PC component providers didn’t, couldn’t, or simply wouldn’t at the time.  At that stage you had to really be a tinkerer on the PC side to get DVD burning to work well, but on the Mac side they were already a step ahead and making sure that media availability was good and software kept up.  I was and still am a video hobbyist, so I looked into switching, but the rest of the Mac still wasn’t quite ready to return to prime time, though it sure looked like there was new potential there.  And then the iPod blew up, and at least in the realms of music and video it looked like Apple was far from dead and looking downright decent.

By 2007, with the Intel switch and Leopard, Apple not only made it back but made it pointless to stay on the PC for most purposes!  By then I certaily had little in the way of Windows-only apps I had to stick with, and I made the switch and haven’t regretted it…even ditching bootcamp after a while when Mac software reached the niche Windows functions I had still held out for.  But for anyone who isn’t into a/v or graphics, maybe the Mac still didn’t look like a done deal at that point.  And then came the iPhone.  And then the iPad.

Here we are, four years later, and really, other than the Mac itself having a somewhat higher sticker at each tier than a comparable PC, Apple is outcompeting in every segment.  (And I would argue that even that isn’t an optimal comparison, since you replace a PC after about half the operating life of the equivalent Mac, from what I have read and seen.)  And yet somehow people STILL just don’t get it. 

I was talking tech with my mother-in-law the other day (she is a CPA who runs a warehousing business and is generally smart) and she was saying that Apple might as well finally let the Mac die off, now that they had the iPhone solidly established in the market.  I was like, “Why the hell would they do that NOW?  In 1996, maybe.  But the Mac right now is hugely profitable for them and has the highest market share it has EVER HAD.” 

On paper where the raw numbers do not lie, Apple is doing better than ever, and shows no real signs of weakness other than cannibalizing its own iPod marketshare via the iPad and iPhone.  Some people are buying gold to hedge against the dollar.  I’ll buy AAPL.

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