back to article Apple takes flak as AT&T drops iPhone bomb

AT&T's declaration that only 146,000 Apple iPhones registered on its network in the first two days it was on the market has led to widespread shock at what is now being seen as the device's failure and a down period for Apple shares, sliding 7.5 per cent over a few days last week, a fall of some $10bn in total market …


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  1. Craig Leeds

    "even better in real life"

    " word gets out of what it is like to own such a device there may be a snowball effect. We've spoken to people who have one, and they agree that it's even better in real life."

    errr saywha?

  2. Rupert Stubbs

    Out of date already...

    Given that Apple has already stated unambiguously that it sold 270,000 iphones in the first 30 hours, the disparity reflects badly on AT+T, not Apple. Apart from the relatively few folk that bought iPhones early in order to resell on eBay, the vast bulk of the difference was due to AT+T not being able to activate fast enough.

    Not only has this been out for nearly a week, now, but APple's stock price more than recovered its losses in the meantime, when their figures came out.

    On the web you need to be a damn sight quicker than this article.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rethink the source?

    Just me, or does the source look like one of those secretly paid 'research' companies, the likes of which tend to slag off the iPhone and many other products?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old news, and worse - wrong!

    Anyone following apple's shares at all would have seen that apple sold 275,000 iphones in the first two days. AT+T's figure is for activations - and we know that a lot of people couldn't activate because AT+T's network couldn't cope.

    All of this happened last week, it's hardly a secret, so why publish an article like this now when it's widely known to be out of date and factually wrong? And besides that, 275,000 phones in two days is a pretty remarkable number, should we blame apple for not selling millions or the analysts for expecting them to?

  5. Dave

    I've got one, 99,999 to go.

    I have an (unlocked) iPhone on my desk in England. I'm glad I didn't pay for it though.

  6. Electro Boy

    Overanalysis, lack of firm data

    Apple apparently sold closer to 270,000 iPhones over the part of the opening weekend that was counted in the quarterly results (totalling something like 30 hours from initial sales to the end of the quarter). As for the discrepancy with the AT&T figure.......their activation process was far from smooth, leaving a lot of people without the ability to activate their phones.

    I was kinda surprised at the fall in Apple share price, given that the figures released do not include any information beyond the 30 hour limit. Selling 270,000 phones in 30 hours is not too shabby. It'll be more interesting to see what the total comes to when the next quarterly results are published.

  7. Richard

    A success then?

    "scaling up from just two days of sales it is still likely that Apple will make its first year sales targets."

    Umm, if that proves to be the case then its another success for Apple.

    I was looking for the Register side-swipe at Apple in the article but in reality it only appears to be in the title [was that you Mr Ed?].

  8. William Donelson

    The Reason

    Most of the "missing" who bought iPhones will not be using them via AT&T, but via WiFi initially, or hoping that the iPhones can be "modified" to work on another cellular system, or with VOIP etc.

    After all, would you want to use AT&T ? !!!

  9. Gilbert Wham

    he says she says

    Blame Apple. It'll make for far better flamebait than calling a bunch of market analysts names.

  10. John Browne

    Apple Share price

    The apple share price appears to be caught up in the IPOD bubble and this bubble is an order of magnitude bigger than the dot com bubble.

    see for yourself, from the Nasdaq website

  11. Andy

    Welcome to last week

    Shares dipped for a day last week when AT&T announced activations, sure, but they regained all that and more when Apple announced their quarterly results - including how many iPhones were actually sold (much higher, as already mentioned). There's since been a slight correction because they jumped too far.

    I'm with the analysts who urged investors to buy AAPL if they dipped on "short term concerns" (as they did), because they just helped their customers make a tidy 7.5% profit in 48 hours... largely thanks to idiots like the guys who wrote this report and their scare mongering.

    Not that I really care - the stock market goes up and down, how is that even a story? - but blatant stupidity really irritates me.

  12. Bill Fresher


    Why all the hoohah (spelling?) over the iPhone - the BlackBerry 8800 smartphone & Jem's Navigation bundle is so much better.

  13. Shad

    RE: The Source

    I am with you bud. This article is not reporting, its marketing.

    Come on REG!. This is getting out of hand lately. To much "soft selling" and not enough real news.

    So far we know you're in bed with Intel and World Of Warcraft. Now you are in bed with Apple? Are you truing into a bunch of whores? Will you sell anything as long as the price is right?

    Besides, "I" anything is only pretty engineering. Technologically speaking the Ipod/Iphone/etc. are all ordinary, non-innovative, and often inferior products.

    Objective, unbiased, neutral reporting of the news please. No more "product placement" and masked marketing techniques please... its sick and its a turn off.

  14. Will Leamon

    Hang on a bit...

    275,000 sold but only 140,000 activated. Does that mean these poor people have been without a phone for more than a week now?

    If so it seems Steve picked a really, really, bad partner for the iphone. Despite the finger pointing it seems a lot of people can't use their phones yet and that's inexcusable on both AT&T AND Apple's part.

    Why on earth did they lock this phone down to one carrier? Seemed like a stupid decision six months ago and know appears to be a nightmare. And 275,000 phones (only half of which actually work) on your opening is not that hot considering the marketing funds that went into the launch.

    Now if Sony could make a PSPphone and design it so I don't have to change carriers and I would definitely be interested. Though there's no reason to think Sony could do it any better at least I could play games on the thing!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slightly late to the party...

    Haven't you guys missed the boat with this one? AT&T reported this number last Tuesday, and Apple posted their own results for the quarter last Wednesday confirming 270k iPhones sold. Given that both companies closed the books for the quarter on Sat 30th and the iPhone only went on sale at 6pm Friday night (29th), the figures suggest a lot of people bought phones on the Saturday and didn't activate immediately... Not really rocket science is it?

    So 270k phones sold in one day plus Friday evening, and confirmation from AT&T that iPhone sold more units through their stores in those few hours than any other new product from any phone manufacturer had previously sold in it's first month. Horrifying failure!! Sheesh...

    Oh, and once the market had time to soak up the reality of these numbers, Apple shares hit an all-time high at the end of last week.

    So come on Reg, you know that news isn't news when it's a week late, and you also know you really shouldn't bait the Mac Faithful with this sort of biased (and inaccurate) reporting.


    Confident Apple Shareholder

  16. Chickety China

    This is a crap article, I'm shocked that The Register is not doing homework...

    The author of this article must not have had anything better to write. When AT&T announced their activations it was for the first 30 hours. So what? Yeah, the stock did drop then. Big deal, It also popped back up when Apple released it's earnings as well as announcing the 275,000 phones it sold in two days. UNPRECEDENTED!

    The continued drop is due to the overall market. The DOW and NASDAQ continue to suffer largely due to the housing market collapse.

    But what would I know... I'm only vested long in Apple stock.

    Sounds like this author is a day trader trying to manipulate.


  17. SK

    Scaling up?

    "scaling up from just two days of sales it is still likely that Apple will make its first year sales targets."

    And if you scale up the opening day's sales of harry Potter (11m in 2 days in the US and UK alone) then by then end of the year they will have sold over 2 billion copies!!!!!

    Lazy lazy journalism.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: RE: The Source

    Did this article get stuck in the postal strike?

  19. Lyndon Hills

    @Bill Fresher

    Is that a blatant attempt to sway the results of the latest Reg Hardware giveaway? If so then nice one, wish I'd thought of it.

  20. Pete Wailes


    " well as announcing the 275,000 phones it sold in two days. UNPRECEDENTED!"

    Nokia sells more phones than that each day. And that's without massive hype and a product launch. "QUITE BLAND AND UNIMPRESSIVE" would have been closer to the mark.

  21. Rob Walch

    Wow - Get some of the facts straight

    Apple stocks went up more then it retreated after Apple gave their numbers. Also AT&T said 40% of new signups were switchers. Please do some fact checking.

    It looks like pieces of the article were missing - you mention the extra 100,000 units. But do not mention that Apple sold 270,000 units. The reason for the difference in numbers has been widely reported. Apple sales also included all units it shipped out on Saturday to the AT&T stores - that pretty much all sold out on Friday. So about 90,000 units were in transit. The remainder of the difference can be explained by those waiting until Monday to activate via their work computers or those that purchased extra units for ebay and resale.

    The editor of this site should be flogged.

    Rob W

    host - Today in iPhone Podcast - Where Journalism still means something

  22. Ed

    Smartphones Pete, Smartphones

    Pete Wailes: The iPhone is a 'smartphone', as such it isn't really competing with the "free" phones given out by networks.

    It is unprecedented that a new smartphone from a company that has never made a phone before sells that many in two days. Find a precedent if you want to disprove that.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really rubbish reporting

    The Register is generally a good read with some great insights and technology insights. But this article??? Was it written by a 14 year old who once got barred from an Apple Store for using his Wheelys?

    Or, if I didn't know better (and thought that journos had lost their so-called independance and righteousness) I would have seen this as a bit of envious, (and severely out of date) mud-slinging designed to affect the stock price. I hope El Reg's CEO bought a load more Apple shares when they went down before bouncing up again!!!

  24. Chickety China

    Duh, Ummmm

    "Nokia sells more phones than that each day. And that's without massive hype and a product launch. "QUITE BLAND AND UNIMPRESSIVE" would have been closer to the mark."

    Hi oblivious.. Where are your stats that show that Nokia sells 275,000 phones in 2 days (that use EDGE, admittedly OLDER tech) that cost over $500.00 each and that have been labeled as breakthrough? That is truley impressive considering some of the other devices out there and Apple having NO... that's right... ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, Nothing, Not an inch... of the cell phone market.

    I bet my bullocks that if any of the Nokia phone owners were offered a trade their device for an iPhone they would... but don't worry your little knickers off chap-o, your version will be 3G.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apple sold more iPhones in three days than the Microsoft Zune did in 3 months. Somebody better alert Bill that he is going out of business and Steve will be sharing a cardboard box with him under the overpass too.

    Pathetic, really pathetic. I do enjoy the attempt to repeat bad news that really is good news nearly a month after first reported. You must be taking cues from your BBC or any of the alphabet networks here in the US when it comes to covering up good news in order to push your own agenda. I think guys like Hitler used those same tactics in order to take over the world...

  26. Fred Manning

    To a few of you

    So let's see here. The numbers are old/incorrect yet some of you are still framing your comments around them? Then there's the folks banging the Blackberry drum, listen if we wanted a Blackberry we'd have bought one, it's not like they haven't been around for a while. And as for the Nokia comment, let's say that they do in fact move that many phones in 2 days. This is across multiple model lines, and in multiple countries! Apple sells 270,000 of their first try cellphone in 2 days, and only in the US, and you are trying to knock that? Love the iPhone, or hate it, that is PHENOMENAL period.

  27. Andy

    I really wish El Reg would stop this!

    Stories are getting more biassed, facts are getting twisted, positions misrepresented... Journalistic standards are going down the toilet recently.

    The Register used to be loved for not taking itself, or anyone else, seriously. That often involved cheap shots and biassed articles, sure; but never blatant untruths or such lazy reporting. It happens with such regularity these days, it feels like there's seething anger and horrible jealousy behind about half of the content. This article is far from the worst, but it's typical or the general background malice towards any kind of success. Seriously, what's going on? I used to love you guys!

  28. David Sisson

    Everyone doesn't activate on day 1

    I didn't get mine till day 4 (although it was bought on day 1 by a friend) and it took me a few days to get everything sorted out to get the family switched over to a single family plan. So it ended up taking me 5 days to activate.

    You can measure activations but you have to measure them within a reasonable time period -- say a week or so.

  29. Chickety China

    Pulled article... but not totally

    Obviously, El Reg decided this was not a substantiated article and hopefully bitch-slapped the author with iron gauntlet. It no longer appears on the main page. They, however, did not pull it from their gadets page though... So much hatred for Apple coming from here, I'm not surprised.

    I stand corrected though on the reason for Apple's stock dipped for today... yesterday was what I was referring to on my original post. Today the dip is from FUD on production changes for the iPod (most likely) and a lawsuit from Eminem (most likely not) in a huge Bear attack of the shares. A outstanding buy opportunity is here. 136 is a steal.

  30. Mitch Gurowitz

    Analysts are idiots

    They often look like they know what their doing only because the market moves based on their nonsensical predictions. It makes for a self-fulfilled prophesy.

    I will retain my Apple stock and for that matter I bought another iPhone for my wife last night. The product speaks for itself and that number will show the true value in Apple's next quarterly profit reporting.

    Even if the numbers are lower than expected, what other smartphone did these kinds of numbers upon the first 30 hours of launch?

    The product isn't just a phone, it is a great iPod and one of the best portible video devices of it's size. The quality of the product beat my expectations, and when all the dust is settled, it will be a major vig for Apple.

  31. Toby


    ...doesn't seem to be what the Register is famous for. Otherwise you would've cared to check at least that what you're publishing is factually correct. To me, this article seems like a clear cut case of libel.

  32. Tim Porter

    Why forgive?

    "This is one time no one can forgive Apple."

    What exactly is there to forgive?

    When you cover IT news (or any other news for that matter), you report the facts and, hopefully, offer some analysis.

    When corporations (no matter WHICH) make business decisions, you question the logic and wisdom, not offer opinions if decisions are 'forgiveable'. What's next? "X Corporation did blah, blah, blah, but leading to millions dead hey, it did have good intentions."

  33. Ascylto


    Aren't you lucky the goon who wrote this piece isn't on El Reg's staff?

    Old news.

    Wrong news.

    Regurgitation of someone else's work.

    Not journalism.

    Faultline should work for Alastair Campbell ... at least he might get a mention in an autobiography rather than consignment to the outer reaches of regional newspapers.

  34. Hamish

    The numbers add up perfectly

    So let me get this straight. Around 280,000 sold but only 140,000 activated. Initial sales limited to 2 iPhones per person.

    It's almost as if everyone bought one to use themselves and one for eBay...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I don't understand... what registering them on the AT&T network has to do with Apple stock dropping. I'm no i-phone fanboy, but Apple sold the phones, right? I'd think that if they sold a sh#tload of phones and only part of them were ever registered with AT&T, it would bode even better for Apple--if people like them well enough to purchase them to use as toys, not caring about phone functionality.

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