The iPhone payoff: Sprint reports best sales day ever – by 1PM ET

Sprint took a big risk on the iPhone, paying a rumored $20B up front to get the iPhone over the next four years (that is some pipeline!).

Mr. Hesse told the board the carrier would have to agree to purchase at least 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years—a commitment of $20 billion at current rates—whether or not it could find people to buy them, according to people familiar with the matter. In order to keep the price people pay for the phone low and competitive with rivals, Sprint would be subsidizing the cost of each phone to the tune of about $500, which would take a long time to recoup even at the high monthly fees iPhone users pay.

Directors debated what they had just heard. Some worried the payoff would be too long in coming. One member questioned whether the multiyear deal might outlast the iPhone’s popularity. To sell that many iPhones, Sprint would have to double its rolls of contract customers, convert all of them to the Apple device or a combination of the two.

It appears that the risk is already starting to pay off.

Today, spokeswoman Michelle Mermelstein told us:

Fared Adib, Sprint Product Chief, issued the following statement: “Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/1pm ET. The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers’ desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan.”

Unlimited is a good thing.

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It looks like Apple may have made enough iPhones this time

We are getting a lot of reports that those big lines are clearing and Apple Stores actually have some stock of iPhone 4S left over (the shot above is from Naples, Florida). While the lines are much larger than iPhone 4 lines were during the Verizon launch, they aren’t as big as the iPhone 4 launch lines according to a few reports.

Why? Apple now has more points of sale (+Verizon and Sprint Stores, Sam’s Club, etc). Plus, online pre-orders have been popular with 1 million being sold this year in the first 24 hours on 100 carriers (vs. 5 countries last year). Some analysts are predicting up to 4 million unit sales in the first weekend alone.

From our knowledge of the situation, we’ve heard that Apple has thought ahead this time and ramped up production well ahead of the release. In fact, Apple could have released the iPhone 4S hardware much earlier if the iOS 5 software had been ready.

But that’s good news for those who are trying to get in early on the iPhone 4S but didn’t want to camp out or pre-order.

The bad news? AT&T activation servers seem to be taking some time to activate phones with some users reporting 5-15 minute wait times.

What’s the word on the street out there?

800MHz iPhone 4S browser powers past the 1.5GHz Samsung Galaxy S II

Slashgear ran the browser on the dual-core 800MHz A5 iPhone 4S against the latest and greatest Galaxy S II with dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm processor (skip ahead 4:30). From the video it looks like the iPhone 4S was faster (as expected). However, in their words…

…from initial results the iPhone 4S performs quite well, I’m sure everyone expected that as the original held its own pretty well too. One of the fastest processors around currently, the 1.5 GHz Qualcomm in the Galaxy S II performs very well but is just barely by a hair beat by the new A5 dual-core iPhone 4S in most tests. We could argue about this all day, or try other sites but when it really comes down to it iOS is highly efficient — not to mention many many websites are designed with iOS in mind.

Damn that is a huge screen.

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We’ve got the internal docs that Apple employees use to explain iCloud and iOS 5

Last week, we detailed the internal docs Apple uses to tell its employees how to sell the iPhone 4S, the new iPods and the new Cards app. Today a tipster added to the trove two more internal docs. iCloud and iOS 5 First looks. These are the cheat sheets that Apple employees use to sell customers these products. Both below:

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AT&T plans a “4G upgrade” for the iPhone in name only

Perhaps looking to differentiate its service from the other two US carriers, AT&T is working with Apple to get a “4G” icon on the iPhone 4S when it hits its HSPA+ network according to The Verge.

The move would seem to try to further differentiate AT&T’s network which is already significantly faster than Sprint or Verizon’s (and theoretically double the iPhone 4 speed).

If you are in the US, which network will you be getting an iPhone 4S on?

How to upgrade your AT&T unlimited iPhone 4 plan to unlimited iPhone 4S plan

We are hearing numerous reports that AT&T unlimited data users aren’t able to upgrade their unlimited plans when they order the iPhone 4S. They are automatically changed to a different data tier (in the above case, the $30 data).

Update: It appears the upgrade is just a bit more complicated. You have to remove the “unlimited data for iphone” plan and then they’ll let you add an “unlimited data for iphone 4S” plan. Yes, unnecessarily complicated and is causing some users to lose their unlimited status.

Update 2: AT&T has chimed in: All current AT&T smartphone customers with an unlimited plan can upgrade and keep their unlimited plan. We’re working on making the online page more clear, but if a customer keeps clicking continue, they will see their unlimited plan.

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iPhone 4S will be faster only on AT&T, unlimited on Sprint, but maybe not interchangeable

Today’s iPhone 4S launch, while bringing a consolidated single phone to three US carriers, also presents some complexities. Some observations:

  1. Probably obvious to some: The 14.4 speed increase is only on AT&T where that speed is actually available. Verizon and Sprint will continue to be at their same 3G speeds. They will also continue to have other CDMA limitations like being cut off of data when talking.
  2. If you buy a Verizon iPhone 4S, you may not be able to head across the street to Sprint with your phone. And vice versa. Phone companies lock their devices so that you can’t move carriers as easy and it appears at first glance that the iPhone 4S won’t be an exception.
  3. IF you have a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4S, you likely will still be able to stick an international SIM card in your phone while travelling. However, will AT&T work in a VZ or Sprint iPhone? Unlikely.
  4. Sprint is also getting the iPhone 4 but AT&T still has an exclusive on the iPhone 3GS in the US. If you factor in the costs of owning a phone for two years, the $100-200 saved up front is a drop in the bucket.
  5. Sprint is the only US carrier offering truly unlimited data plans. From personal experience, Sprint offers great data connectivity, especially in big cities. It will be interesting to see how that network holds up as 30 million iPhones get onto Sprint’s network over the next four years.

Another poll for US iPhone users…

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iPhone 4S with iPhone 4 design, dual-mode capability leaked by iTunes

While we have independently been expecting the new iPhone to feature little exterior differences from the iPhone 4, there still has been some debate over the new iPhone’s design. Today, rumors of a re-design can essentially be put to rest. Inside the latest iTunes beta is a specific mention of the “iPhone 4S.” Along with the new iPhone name of “iPhone 4S” comes an image, and it is of a CDMA iPhone 4.

Unless Apple still has the CDMA iPhone 4 as a placeholder image until the new iPhone is announced, we’re fairly confident that the iPhone 4S will pack the CDMA iPhone design. iTunes only holds two iPhone 4S references: black and white versus the four iPhone 4 references of black/GSM, black/CDMA, white/GSM, and white/CDMA. This may also confirm the rumors of the new iPhone being a dual-mode/CDMA + GSM handset.

iPhone 4S confirmed as N94 (iPhone 4,1) that showed up in Apple’s inventory system:

The new iPhone will likely feature the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, and eight megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM, Nuance-based speech-to-text Dictation, and the breakthrough Assistant feature based on Apple’s purchase of Siri. Everything you need to know can be read here.

Thanks, Ron!

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Next iPhone to likely come in 64GB, 32GB, and 16GB capacities

Following the news that Apple’s new iPhone N94 device has appeared in the Apple internal inventory system, we are now hearing that this new iPhone will come in three storage capacities. Given that we’ve also heard from manufacturing sources that Apple has at least been prototyping 64GB versions of the new iPhone, we would say it’s fairly likely that Apple’s new iPhone will come in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities; just like the iPad.

In all fairness, it is also plausible that the new iPhone will come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities, but the appearance of a tweaked iPhone 4 (N90A) seems to refute that. Provided that the 8GB iPhone 4 rumor is correct, it would make little sense for Apple to produce both an 8GB iPhone 4 and an 8GB iPhone 4S. For those who have been wondering – and who isn’t? – each of these capacities will come in both black and white. Thanks, Mr. X!

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iPhone 4S cases showing up in retail channels?

Adding some validity to the possibility of a new iPhone branded “4S”, @chronicwire has just posted the images below showing the iPhone 4S branding on what looks like legit packaging for a new Otter Box iPhone case.

Another couple if you head down south. Notice the changed volume buttons that may or may not be indicative of a volume button to camera shutter feature.

LEAK: Photo of the back of the package showing the iPhone 4S case, depicting new volume buttons, and on the right side. New soft-looking volume buttons being on right side of iPhone 4S can probably be attributed to the “volume button to take pic” iOS5 feature

Update (Sept 23rd): TUAW talked to Otterbox who clarified:

She explained that the ad reflected the current conversations going on in the blogosphere. “Like many, we are watching the rumor sites and using information to plan ahead as much as we can.” Otterbox promises support for whatever iPhone debuts, but they’re emphatically not stating or leaking anything further. “We do not have any confidentiality agreements with Apple,” Richardson told TUAW.

As for those iPhone 4S Otterbox packaging photos that leaked yesterday, she explained, “What was circulating yesterday was not a case image for the iPhone 4S but a packaging design.” Otterbox has not identified the source of the photos.
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Will the iPhone 4S be the only iPhone launched at Apple’s Fall event?


image via Walyou

Last week, we heard that iPhone 4S devices, ones identical in appearance to current iPhone 4s, were rolling of the assembly lines in big numbers. The only differences in this model are the 8 Megapixel camera and A5 Processor. Everything else is the exact same. In fact, Apple employees could be carrying these around without anyone knowing. The ‘iPhone 5′ lost in a bar might have looked like an iPhone 4.

The bad news is that we reported that there were design and production delays that could have pushed the iPhone 5 launch back.

It appears that the tear-drop shaped iPhone 5 with larger screen and thinner, rounder body is seeing continued design and production delays, at least on one assembly line (Apple has multiple production sources – Pegatron, Foxconn, etc). We therefore think that iPhone 5 will be delayed slightly at the very least and may see shortages all the way into 2012.

Since then, we’ve also heard that those iPhone 5 delays might push the teardrop iPhone 5 out until 2012. This is from two separate, additional sources who have ties to Apple and its manufacturing partners. We don’t want to believe this but we’re hearing it more and more… Read more