Early iPhone Data Disappoints, Sending Apple Stock Lower

Apple's much-hyped iPhone performed nowhere near Wall Street expectations during its first 30 hours on sale. But longtime Apple bull and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told CNBC that some investors are "missing the big picture."

AT&T reported 146,000 activations during the iPhone's first weekend on sale, according to an earnings report from Apple's wireless carrier.

A flag showing the Apple Computer logo flies outside the Apple shop in Regent Street, London
Kirsty Wigglesworth
A flag showing the Apple Computer logo flies outside the Apple shop in Regent Street, London

Piper Jaffray had expected 500,000 iPhones to sell during that first weekend, and Munster characterized the AT&T news as a "disappointment at face value."

Apple's stock fell sharply in reaction.

But in an interview on "Power Lunch," Munster said that "it's hard to take a day-and-a-half of data and extrapolate the success of a product over the next several years."

Munster also said that while there were 146,000 activations during the first weekend the iPhone went on sale, Apple sold closer to 200,000 units.

Munster said the early iPhone data is reminiscent of the December 2001 quarter when Apple first released the iPod, also with disappointing numbers that ultimately came around. He said he still stands by his $205 price target, a Street high, and anticipates 3 million iPhones will be sold this year and balloon to 9 million units sold in 2008.

The iPhone, Munster said, remains "a game changer", adding, "there's been huge expectations for the iPhone and it has exceeded most of those expectations--200,000, or 300,000 in the grand scheme of what the iPhone is going to be is pretty small".

CIBC reported this morning that it has seen a significant decline in iPhone sales over the past ten days, with inventories at stores and demand thin.

The firm also said that it expects a new, 3G version of the iPhone to be released in the U.S. by November, ahead of the holiday season and earlier than expected. That news could stall iPhone sales even further if customers decide to put off their purchase and wait for the newer version to be released.

Apple reports its earnings Wednesday after market close.