Not surprising: Apple’s (AAPL) new, cheaper iPhone 3G was the top-selling consumer smartphone in the U.S. this summer, beating out two RIM (RIMM) BlackBerry gadgets and Palm’s (PALM) $99 Centro, according to research firm NPD Group. Making this more impressive: NPD is counting sales from June through August, but the iPhone didn’t go on sale until July 11 — almost halfway through that period.
NPD says the new iPhone accounted for 24% of phones sold to U.S. consumers from June through August, more than double the 11% market share its predecessor garnered from January through May. It’s now the second best-selling phone in the U.S., after Motorola’s dirt-cheap RAZR.
That’s great news for AT&T (T), the phone’s exclusive U.S. carrier. NPD says some 30% of iPhone buyers switched to AT&T for the phone, or 1.3x the 23% of customers who, on average, switched carriers this summer. Where’d they come from?
The big loser: Verizon Wireless, where 47% of carrier-switching iPhone buyers came from — 1.3x of Verizon’s (VZ) share of the 193 million subscriber, non-AT&T U.S. wireless market. Some 24% of switchers came from smaller T-Mobile (DT) — also 1.3x its non-AT&T market share. But Sprint Nextel (S) seems to have held its own: Just 19% of iPhone switchers came from Sprint, 0.76x its 25% share of the non-AT&T market. (More evidence that the iPhone-knockoff Samsung Instinct is really helping Sprint?)
What we don’t know: How many phones Apple actually sold last quarter. Wall Street guesses around 5-6 million, depending on whose estimate you’re using. And a wonky Apple investor project calculates that 9.2 million iPhones have been made — based on deciphering the unique ID numbers of phones people have recently bought — but that doesn’t necessarily translate to actual sales figures.
Meanwhile, Apple is already at work on the next version of the iPhone’s software. Coming to iPhone 2.2: Google Maps Street View — one of the cooler features of Google’s ‘G1’ phone, shipping this month — and Japanese “emoji” icons, according to MacRumors.