Vodafone "will confirm Euro iPhone deal when one million phones are sold" - Thursday?

by Guy Kewney | posted on 03 July 2007

It looks like it's a triumph for Steve Jobs, after all: despite all the problems caused by a registration logjam for the iPhone, Apple reckons it will be able to announce a million sales by Thursday. That will probably be the moment to reveal the Euro iPhone deal, say sources.

Guy Kewney

Questions arose about just how popular the iPhone was, when the expected long tailbacks to buy last Friday night were cleared within an hour or so.

And then news started coming in about problems in getting online, if Cingular thought you were a business user, and sceptics began to suggest that there was no big demand for the toy.

However, actual registrations through AT&T - not sales, but completed "activation" of iPhone accounts - showed that by last night, more than 600,000 users were online. At this rate, the magic million will be reached some time tomorrow (Wednesday) - possibly even sooner, say sources, who think that the number of customers who have bought (but still can't use) their iPhones is very high.

The deal announcing Vodafone, T-Mobile and Carphone Warehouse as European sales channels for the 3G iPhone has been held up, say German sources, by legal quibbles.

"What we're hearing is that there was a contract drawn up in Germany; but that when Vodafone's Newbury lawyers saw it, they said they weren't signing a contract under German law, and it had to be re-drafted under UK legislation," said one insider.

That means that the figures - a million sold - are still flexible. If the magic million isn't reached by Thursday, or the legal wrangle isn't sorted, then the company faces a choice - announce next week, or go this week with some form of words which looks at the number ordered.

There's still room for scepticism, says Engadget:

Look at the retail availability trend above from data harvested off Apple's iPhone locator site. On Saturday June 30th, Apple showed 100% availability at their stores although we know at least some of these were only stocked with 4GB models. On Monday, availability dropped off to 84% and then just 61% as of yesterday, July 2nd. This morning, Apple's only showing a 42% availability across the nation of which we're guessing most are the less sexy 4GB models.

We'll have to wait for the stores to open but as far as we know, AT&T has still not managed to restock since selling out in the opening hours. Thus, anyone looking to purchase the device must either order on-line (and wait 2-4 weeks for delivery) or hoof it on down to your "local" Apple store.Thursday's party depends on shipments getting through to AT&T, if that's right.

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