Apple's iPhone made its debut in Verizon Wireless stores and other retail locations today, officially ending AT&T's exclusive rights to the popular smartphone.
But unlike past iPhone unveilings, this didn't spark the kinds of lines typically associated with a new Apple product. And at least so far, the massive migration of AT&T users to Verizon hasn't materialized.
According to a limited sample poll by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster (40 people in line to buy the phone at locations in Minneapolis and New York), only 8% were prior AT&T iPhone users. Most, 63%, were already Verizon customers using different phones; 18% were Sprint subscribers and 13% came from T-Mobile.
That could be bad news for Android smartphone. Most, 45%, were upgrading from non-smartphone devices, 28% were former Blackberry users, 13% switching from Android and 8% upgrading from older iPhones. How many of them would have bought Verizon's Android phones instead? Who knows? It will take a good quarter or two of sales data to firmly grasp the impact.
The small lines probably don't mean much, as the real die-hard iPhone fanatics already have one. Any others still planning to switch to Verizon have plenty of time to do so, or may be waiting for AT&T contracts to expire before doing so. Besides, Verizon's iPhone pre-order offer to existing Verizon subscribers sold out in less than a day on Feb. 3, as did the online pre-orders offered to new customers on Feb. 9. That says Verizon simply misjudged the split between online sales and in-store sales more than anything else.
Analyst sales forecasts range from 1 million sales in the first week, to up to 4 million by the end of March. Verizon meanwhile says it expects to sell as many as 11 million iPhones by the end of the year.