In technology, two years can be a lifetime. It’s encouraging to learn the iPhone 3G is still going strong. According to reports, suppliers will ship 2 million of the handsets during the December quarter, making it the second best-selling iPhone behind the iPhone 4.
The iPhone 3GS, launched in 2009 and succeeded by the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, gained a new life when Apple offered the handset for free (99-cents at AT&T), with a two-year contract. Industry publication DigiTimes reports suppliers will pump out 2 million iPhone 3GS units for the December quarter, followed by 1.4-1.6 million devices in the first quarter of 2012.
By comparison, between 800,000 and 1 million CDMA iPhone 4s will be produced for the fourth quarter of 2011 with 500,000 to 600,000 units manufactured for the first quarter of next year. The strong showing by the iPhone 3G likely was fueled by Apple’s decision to convert the handset into an entry-level iPhone, opening the entire Apple economy to a “wider audience of customers.”
Traditionally, Apple has retired the previous generations of iPhone; however, there had been a widespread expectation the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant would need a low-cost entry-level device to compete with Android handsets.
Continued demand for the iPhone 3GS likely will play a role in Apple announcing record smartphone sales. After the delayed introduction of the iPhone 4S created a sales downturn, the company expects demand for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS will lift the December quarter revenues to $37 billion. Analyst consensus puts the quarter’s iPhone sales between 28 to 30 million units, with some onlookers forecasting up to 42 million iPhones.