Chalk up to bad data, chalk it up to carelessness. Chalk it up to another way the media can mess with Apple and its investors.
But no matter what, I take responsibility full responsibility for reporting the bad information. And it's unfortunate because my report really short-changed Apple and a truly extraordinary accomplishment.
Apple took the unusual step of releasing those first few days of sales and they were blockbuster, despite the "channel checks" by Piper Jaffray suggesting otherwise. Apple says it sold one million units in 21 countries from Friday to Sunday, more than double Piper's findings of 425,000.
Needless to say, Apple execs were pleased, with Steve Jobs calling the performance a "stunning opening weekend."
Apple did in three days what took the original iPhone 74 days to achieve.
How many phones went to new customers versus existing customers is still an unanswered question, but at this point, who cares. And if activations went smoother, who knows how many phones Apple really could have sold.
Meantime, lesson learned: Question the source, no matter who it is or how good a track record they have. Piper, normally spot on with Apple coverage, blew this one. And I made it worse by reporting it. Mea culpas all around. I'm sure we'll both do better the next time.
iPhone, by any measure, is an unqualified success. And Apple's numbers prove it.
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