The much-hyped Verizon iPhone is finally available for purchase today, and if you haven’t preordered or picked one up yet, there’s still a very good chance you’ll be able to snag one.
Reports of small lines and slow turnout at Verizon and iPhone stores across the country make it clear that this iPhone launch is nothing like the madhouse launches at AT&T.
The news doesn’t mean that the Verizon iPhone is a failure — especially if you consider that the carrier sold out its online preorders to existing Verizon customers in less than a day. Instead, media reports and disgruntled iPhone users on AT&T led to the Verizon iPhone becoming a savior device that could never live up to its insurmountable hype. (If you want to see an extreme example of what I’m talking about, just check out the Daily Show’s hilarious clip on the Verizon iPhone announcement.)
Verizon will still end up selling millions of iPhones throughout the year, even if it doesn’t sell out of its stock today. And come the launch of the iPhone 5, I suspect Verizon stores will see similarly insane lines as AT&T has been dealing with for years.
There are many reasons we could point to for the slow launch turnout: Verizon managed to satisfy most of its customers who absolutely wanted an iPhone with preorders last week, and AT&T customers are likely holding out until their contracts end to avoid hefty early termination fees. Also, pretty much everybody is aware that Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 in a few months, which will launch on both AT&T and Verizon.
I called several Verizon stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn today, and they all reported that they still had iPhones in stock. When I asked if I’d be able to pick up an iPhone later this afternoon, only one store out of 5 said that they were close to running out of stock. None of the stores had big lines this morning; instead, customers were mostly trickling in throughout the day.
In a small survey of 40 users, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster found that 8 percent of users waiting in line for a Verizon iPhone were coming from AT&T, while 63 percent were already on Verizon. More users came from Sprint (18 percent) than from T-Mobile (13 percent). Such a small survey likely won’t give us any insight into national trends, but I do think that we’ll continue to see more Verizon users jumping to the iPhone than others. Munster believes that Verizon will sell 1 million iPhones in its first three days of availability.
Image via Wilson Tang