Apple has traditionally been viewed as a company limited chiefly to domestic sales. However, a review of sales figures suggests the iPhone 3G could unlock international markets, providing a ‘halo effect’ for other Apple products.
A halo effect has long been described to explain how iPod sales could boost purchases of Macs. Now some experts believe the iPhone 3G could give Apple a foot in the door to countries once alien to the Cupertino brand.
At the heart of the theory are numbers indicating Apple sold as many as half of iPhone 3Gs internationally. Apple shipped between 2.4 and 4.5 million of the 6.9 million iPhone 3Gs during the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30. The exact numbers depend on who’s talking.
The important number is how many iPhones were sold, not shipped, argues AppleInsider. If only sold units are counted, the 6.9 million figure drops to 4.8 million iPhones. Out of 4.8 million, 2.492 million iPhones were sold internationally, compared to 2.4 million handsets AT&T activated domestically during the quarter, AI claims.
Unlike the original iPhone, Apple worked to get the second-generation smartphone in 51 countries.
Current Analysis handset analyst Avi Greengart says the portion of international iPhone 3G sales are much higher. Greengart uses Apple’s 6.9 million total iPhones shipped, subtracting AT&T’s 2.4 million number to arrive at 4.5 million iPhones shipped outside the United States.
Along with helping its rivalry with RIM, increased international iPhone sales could raise all ships, Greengart told Cult of Mac.
“It could also have positive effects for the Apple brand,” the analyst said. The question is whether higher iPhone penetration will convert into higher international Mac or iPod sales, he said.
Will the iPhone numbers encourage Apple to pursue markets not previously on their radar?
“They need to do much more aggressive marketing of their Macs in those regions,” Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney e-mailed Cult of Mac.
“That is where they really make some serious money,” Dulaney predicted.