This is the initial estimate from Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. analyst Yair Reiner, who admits that it's still just a guessing game until we hear it from the Cupertino, Calif., powerhouse itself. But, here's how Fortune breaks down Reiner's math:
- There were 600,000 iPhones pre-ordered from both Apple and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) in the US.
- At an average of 500 per store, there were 100,000 non-reserved units sold day of at Apple stores.
- Best Buy chipped in another 50,000 iPhone 4s, according to Oppenheimer's checks.
- To account for the rest of world, multiple it by two, Reiner says.
Piper Jaffray & Co. researchers added some color to Apple's launch-day numbers, noting that 77 percent of iPhone 4 purchases were upgrading, a full 38 percent more than did for last year's 3G S model. In 2009, 56 percent of iPhone 3GS buyers were upgrading on launch day and, in 2008, 38 percent did so, Jaffray says.
For those who weren't existing AT&T iPhone users, Jaffray says 6 percent switched over from BlackBerry, 3 percent from Android, and 2 percent from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK).
Apple's chart-topping sales day suggests what consumers have already confirmed: Apple has an unmatched brand cache that even AT&T can't muddy. Less consumers may be jumping ship from other carriers and devices to get the iPhone 4, but those who have Apple products remain loyal.
"Apple has in three years built brand loyalty in the phone market that compels users to upgrade to the latest version and wait in line for one to six hours to pick up their iPhone," Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a note to clients. "While we think Apple will sell between 1.0 million to 1.5 million iPhones in the first three days (including preorders), the actual number is largely irrelevant. Apple is tapping into the global consumer spending sweet spot, mobile, and as a result iPhone numbers are going higher in the coming years."
See more of our iPhone 4 coverage below:
- iPhone 4 Takes Over Chicago
- Worldwide iPhone 4 Photos
- ComScore Tracks the iPhone
- Big Lines Form for the iPhone 4
- Gadget Watch: Apple Sorry for iPhone 4 Fiasco
- Does iPhone 4 Dash Nokia's High-End Hopes?
- Microsoft Muted, Not Maimed, by Apple
- Operators Support iPhone 4 Worldwide
- Apple Unveils the iPhone 4
- Photos From the iPhone 4 Release