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Piper 'Conservative' On iPhone Estimates

Piper Jaffray is admitting that its initial estimate of 500,000 iPhone 3GS handsets might have been too conservative.

Gene Munster published a note this afternoon based on admittedly non-scientific data, but useful information nonetheless.

In addition to the sales data I offered in my previous post regarding the San Francisco store, Munster tells me he spoke to an Apple employee at the Fifth Ave. store in New York who said 400 iPhone 3GS's had sold by 830aEDT.

From his note: "We spoke with over 200 people in line for the iPhone 3G S earlier today in Minneapolis and New York. Our early read on iPhone sales is that our 500k estimate for the launch weekend will prove to be conservative."

He adds, "We estimate that there were about 350 people in line at the 5th Ave. Apple store (in New York City) when they began selling iPhone 3GS's this morning vs. 540 last year. While this method is clearly far from scientific, we expected lines to be 50 percent shorter this year, so the 35 percent reduction is above our expectations."

So there you go.

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