Monday, July 14, 2008

iPhone installed base up 17% in 72 hours

To the installed base of 6 million iPhone 2G phones, in the past three days Apple sold 1 million of its new iPhone 3G. An unknown number of 2G owners have also upgraded to the iPhone 2.0 software, including at least two of my loyal blog readers.

Of course, the big news is that AT&T and Apple created a new activation process that failed miserably under the flood of new users and brought a flurry of bad publicity. (Of course, this utterly predictable problem happened because they changed the activation process to make sure all the iPhones got activated). It’s TBD whether this bad experience will have any lasting impact, although those who waited in line over the weekend were clearly the hard-core true believers.

Between the new and existing iPhone owners, Apple this morning also claimed 10 million downloads of native iPhone applications from the App Store since it was launched Thursday. Since the SDK was released in March, Apple’s iPhone ISVs have created many compelling applications (although not much for business). They don’t specify, but most of the publicity is on the free applications which I suspect account for 90+% of the 10 million downloads.

What I’m finding interesting is what’s not there. Some 17 months ago, I proposed the iChat test. iChat is still not on the iPhone but a (text only) AIM is. (AOL also announced AOL Radio for the iPhone). I’m guessing AOL has noticed that AIM is no longer cool, and thus having the first native IM client on the iPhone might help it with the younger demographic.

But where is the VoIP service via iChat or Skype? Will these applications be funded (authorized) by Apple? It’s not as though there’s a lack of demand or interest. (Some would attribute it to Steve Jobs’ opposition).

No one knows if the gPhone will support VOIP, and it’s safe to assume that the carrier-led LiMo will not. So perhaps Apple has months to worry about this because competing platforms are in no hurry either.