Monday, 14 July 2008 21:29

1m iPhone 3Gs sold, 10 million apps and millions of frustrated customers

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So, the iPhone 3G sold 1 million units by Sunday US time after launching in 21 countries, and 10 million apps via the App Store, but iTunes activation, MobileMe and firmware update snafus left millions of customers fuming, too.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of the iPhone 3G and the iPhone OS 2.0, it was the age of iFanboyism, it was the epoch of belief in the Reality Distortion Field, it was the epoch of iNcredulity, it was the season of Steve, it was the season of Jobs, it was the spring of iMania, it was the winter of Windows Mobile, we had iEverything before us, we had iNothing before us, we were all going direct to iPheaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the last time the iPhone launched, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of iComparison only.

You see, several amazing things had happened all at once, thus turning Apple CEO Steve Jobs into saviour and saint while seeing his halo slip - all at once.

Thus was the iPhone 3G born, in a swirling sea of rabid hysteria over the famed second coming of the Jesus Phone at last. Free at last, free at last to be purchased by the hoards of the deprived for whom grey imported unlocked iPhones were their only previous salvation.

For as the iPhone 3G was unleashed unto an impatient world, so was the iPhone and iPod Touch OS 2.0 software, the .Mac to Mobile Me transition and the need for hundreds of thousands of shiny new iPhone 3Gs to be activated, seemingly all at once.

Dubbed by Gizmodo as the iPocalypse and others as the iFiasco, the torrential storm took some time to pass, but pass it eventually did, and Steve Jobs looked down upon the world and saw that it was good. The millions who had previously been thwarted by Apple’s groaning infrastructure had received Jobs’ blessing at last.

And as the clouds parted and the sunlight came streaming thru, lo! By Sunday, more than 1 million iPhone 3Gs had been sold in 21 countries, with the French forced to wait until July 17 to become the 22nd country to officially receive the Jobsian Papal dispensation of the iPhone 3G.

Continued on page 2.


And after looking upon the world, thus spake Steve Jobs, declaring: “iPhone 3G had a stunning opening weekend. It took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones, so the new iPhone 3G is clearly off to a great start around the world.”

Of course once iPhone 3G users were able to activate their phones, once original iPhone users were able to upgrade to version the OS 2.0, and iPod Touch users likewise, and once peace was restored into the world of iTunes, something else happened: more than 10 million applications were downloaded from the new App Store over the first three days.

With more than 800 applications now on the App Store, more 200 of them free and 90% under the US $10 mark, the App Store helped the iPhone fulfil its destiny as a handheld computer par excellence, and not just a multimedia web surfing phone.

Sayeth the Almighty Steve Jobs:“The App Store is a grand slam, with a staggering 10 million applications downloaded in just three days. Developers have created some extraordinary applications, and the App Store can wirelessly deliver them to every iPhone and iPod touch user instantly.”

And so while the unlocked iPhone 2G owners stuck on the older 1.1.4 firmware await the iPhone Dev Team to release its Pwnage tool to allow the safe upgrade to an unlockable and jailbreakable 2.0 OS, iPhone 3G customers face waiting much longer before any 3G unlock becomes possible.

But with so many more countries now endowed with the mighty 3G iPhone, the need to unlock has lessened for 3G users, although for 1.1.4 unlocked 2G users it’s as urgent as ever.

For they too wish to take in the glorious bounty of the iPhone OS 2.0 software, with its still slightly buggy nature, but more importantly its ability to access the App Store’s delights.

Now that software can officially take advantage of the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen, its multi-touch goodness, its hardware accelerated 3G graphics, its accelerometer and more, the appeal of jailbroken apps is still strong, but mollified somewhat by the fact the App Store awaits.

Continued on page 3.


Having downloaded several of the apps onto my iPod Touch, which was duly upgraded after a fee of US $10 (AUD $12.99), the new operating system is definitely flaky in parts, causing some games to crash and even the device to reboot spontaneously on loading particular apps on occasion, it is but a 2.zero release.

Surely a 2.01 or 2.1 is due sometime soon to smooth out the initial, minor-ish bugs.

Until then more than a million new members have joined the cult of the iPhone, seemingly ready, willing and able to help Jobs fulfil the great 10 million iPhones in 2008 prophecy of Macworld 2007.

The second coming of the Jesus Phone has come at last, as has the second coming of its operating system.

Plenty of original iPhone customers came for a second helping of iPhone goodness in 3G form, and plenty of iPhone and iPod Touch customers had to come back to iTunes again and again to see if it was working yet.

But all worked out in the end. Steve Jobs looked upon his iWorld, saw his sales figures, and download numbers, saw that he’d weathered the triple witching storm of iEverything availability, and saw that things were very, very good indeed.



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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