Apple Could Ship 500,000 To 700,000 iPhones This Weekend

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How many iPhone 3G Ss will Apple ship this weekend? Wall Street’s guesses are rolling in, and so far, they seem to be around 500,000 to 700,000.

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The phone has been available for preorder since last Monday, and hits stores tomorrow. There’s plenty of pent-up demand for the new phone — we’ve warned you not to buy a new iPhone since April! — but because it’s a rather minor update, there won’t be the same frenzy that Apple experienced on launch date last year.

So after shipping 1 million iPhone 3Gs during opening weekend last year, Wall Street seems to expect a 30% to 50% drop this year.

  • Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster predicts Apple will ship 500,000 iPhone 3G Ss this weekend. He is also “increasingly confident” in his prediction of 5.0 million iPhone shipments this quarter.
  • RBC’s Mike Abramsky predicts Apple will ship 500,000 to 700,000 this weekend.

Will we ever know? Apple is under no obligation to announce how many it shipped over the weekend — just how many it ships this quarter, which also includes the now-cheaper iPhone 3G. But if the number is high enough — if it filled the channel with 1 million iPhone 3G S devices or more, for instance — it might.

About that pent-up demand: Abramsky says a recent survey of would-be smartphone buyers suggests 44% are interested in buying an iPhone in the next 90 days, versus 30% saying the same thing in March. (See chart below.) But about 1/3 of those are current iPhone owners, many of whom would have to pay a $200 surcharge to upgrade this weekend.

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