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Only short lines formed this time around for the iPhone's launch on Verizon. Apple and Verizon were clearing expecting much bigger crowds.  (Source: Reuters/Mike Segar)

Apple's Steve Jobs may not be as far removed from the company as thought. Despite being on medical leave he is reportedly holding multiple meetings and even visited Cupertino campus, preparing for the upcoming iPhone 5 and iPad 2 launches.  (Source: European Pressphoto Agency)
For all the hype AT&T's iPhone 4 launch was far bigger

It was to be the biggest phone launch of the year.  At long last the much beloved iPhone was launching on "America's most reliable network", Verizon Wireless.  The carrier clearly expected an epic turnout, so it erected metal barricades in front of its city stores like in New York and San Francisco.  It also beefed up its staff for launch day (Thursday).

But ahead of the 7 a.m. opening of the store on Thursday only a small contingent of Apple fans gathered outside the building.  In New York City at 6:30 a.m. lines tended to have only 10 to 40 people.  One might suspect the cold winter weather might play a role, but consider that stores in San Francisco, which is enjoying far nicer weather, only saw 20 people.

Through the day a moderate stream of customers came in to pick up their pre-ordered iPhone.  Pre-orders were open two days -- on Feb. 3 for existing customers and on Feb. 9 for the general public.

Intriguingly, despite supposedly being "superior" to AT&T in terms of service quality, the turnout at Verizon seemed quite anemic to the hordes of people that camped outside Apple and AT&T stores last July.

Even Verizon Wireless spokesperson Brenda Raney admits that her company was a little surprised by the low turnout.  While she describes the sales as "brisk and steady" she comments to Reuters, "We prepared for more. When you have people over for dinner, don't you prepare for more?"

It's hard to determine what exactly was the cause of poor response.  Perhaps it's a sign that Apple is losing more momentum to Android.  Or perhaps it's a sign that not as many AT&T customers are interested in switching as predicted.  Regardless, while Apple and Verizon Wireless would never admit it, the launch clearly was a disappointment to their high expectations.

In other related news, Apple founder and chief executive Steve Jobs is now back to work -- from home.  According to The Wall Street Journal, sources at Apple say that while Mr. Jobs' health problems forced him to take a medical leave and largely confined him to home, he's been able to hold regular meetings via teleconference.  And he was even spotted visiting Apple's Cupertino campus on one day.

While Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook is currently guiding the company in an official capacity, Jobs is reportedly continuing to guide the company in an unofficial capacity.  He reportedly is especially focused on executing a successful launch of the iPad 2 sometime in the next few months, and the iPhone 5, which is expected to launch this summer.  Both devices will be offered on both of America's largest carriers -- AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

An Apple spokesperson commenting to The Wall Street Journal states, "Steve is the CEO of Apple and during his medical leave he'll continue to be involved in major strategic decisions."

Medical experts consulted by the WSJ say that Jobs' increasingly gaunt appearance in recent months and illness is likely a sign either that his cancer has reoccurred or that he's experiencing complications with his organ transplant.  Either way, the hard-driving general isn't able to full step away from his duties at the company; that much is clear.

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RE: android surpassed iphone sales anyways
By acer905 on 2/11/2011 12:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Profit per unit != ultimate success. There is a balance point between high unit profit and high sales volume that gives the best success rate. Price too high, you'll earn more but sell less. Price too low and you might not sell enough to reach maximum potential.

Apple doesn't care, and has never shown signs of caring. They price their stuff, and it sells. However, prior to iTunes allowing the iPod to become dominant, their pricing system left them less successful than other companies whose per unit profits were much lower.

Ferrari has higher profits per vehicle, but Ford is a much more profitable company due to sales volume. If Anyone comes up with a device with the same pop as an Apple device and, sell it for less, Apple's time is over.

RE: android surpassed iphone sales anyways
By Pirks on 2/11/11, Rating: 0
By nafhan on 2/11/2011 1:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
Worth noting that thanks to vertical integration, Apple needs to be making more money. HTC/Sammy/Motorola/etc. are using software and services from the big G, and therefore don't need to spend as much on that stuff.
Not to say Apple isn't doing well, of course. Because, they are! I'm more pointing out one area where simple charts don't necessarily relay the entire picture.
Another thing I found interesting in your link was the "other" section on the first chart. That's 1/4th of the industry that probably isn't making enough to create their own OS, and will therefore almost certainly use Android (or a variant of it's OSS project) to power their smartphones as they start making them.

By acer905 on 2/11/2011 7:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
It is true that at the moment they are in the sweet spot, but can they maintain that position? In business, and in the tech world in particular, time is everything. Someone can be on top at one point, suddenly to find themselves abandoned for the newest fad. They are, for the moment making money, enough to horde piles of cash. However, nothing is forever.

By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2011 2:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
That'd make sense if "Ferrari" was making less profit overall, but they aren't. If Apple doesn't sell more though they might be left with developers leaving them to reach a bigger user base, be that Android/WP7/WebOS.

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