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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