3 million iPhones ready on Opening Day

June 8 (Xinhuanet) — When the iPhone was first introduced in January, Steve Jobs said he expected to sell 10 million of the devices by the end of 2008. That sounded like wishful thinking then. But with all the global hype around the device leading up to its June 29 launch, Jobs’ projection sounds almost conservative.

    Around 2009, when the lower cost version of iPhone appears, Business Week believes the yearly market for iPhones could be over 10 billion U.S. dollars a year. Its an interesting prediction; if those numbers come to pass, iPhone could become a bigger source of revenue than the traditional iPod.

    The answer may not come until 2009. By then, Apple should have begun creating lower-cost iPhone variants to reach consumers scared off by the introductory price of 499 U.S. dollars. It also will probably have moved into overseas markets and cut deals with more carriers to utilize higher-speed wireless networks. So while most analysts look for Apple to sell around 3 million units this year and 10 to 12 million in 2008, many figure that 20 million will move in 2009.

    According to BusinessWeek, Apple will have 3 million iPhones ready for sale on opening day.

    But the iPhone launch is about more than the numbers. While Apple won’t be the first to wrap a smart phone and music player into one device, the iPhone has a decent chance of popularizing the combo. Many of us carry at least two devices around with us, usually a phone and a music player. The iPhone, if designed with the same elegance as the iPod, might meld phone and music together for good. Carrying two devices might seem redundant. That could, of course, have profound effects on both the wireless handset and MP3 player industries.

    Apple has sold about 100 million iPods since 2001. Apple not only made the iPod popular, but did a lot to make popular MP3 players in general. It’ll be interesting to see if the iPhone — a far more complex device — can affect such massive techno-cultural change.

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