Although several hundred shoppers lined up outside Apple's stores in New York and San Francisco before their 7 a.m. opening, the lines were shorter and moved more quickly than those for the first iPhone in 2007 and for last year's 3G model.
However, NPD analyst Ross Rubin said the turnout was nothing to sniff at. "To have lines anywhere near the length of the ones we saw at the Fifth Avenue (New York) store is an impressive feat for any smartphone," he says.
And there wasn’t nearly as much hype heading into this iPhone refresh, adds Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt. So I was surprised at the length of the line.
Broadpoint Amtech analyst Brian Marshall, who was at the launch in San Francisco, agrees.
He expects 500,000 3GS phones to be activated through the weekend and predicts the device would sell out in all channels -- which include Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores -- later on Friday or Saturday. He also says it could take two or three days to restock.
Neither Apple nor AT&T have given specific sales figures or targets for the 3GS, but the carrier said on Friday that early sales had exceeded its own expectations.
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