Instapaper sales show slow Verizon iPhone adoption from new customers

Verizon iPhone launch

There was such a clamor leading up to the Verizon iPhone launch that you’d think it would be the only thing the world is talking about. Instead, it’s been pretty quiet since the launch, which has everyone wondering, how good was the launch?

If you see things how Marco Arment, founder of the popular Instapaper app for multiple mobile platforms, the Verizon iPhone is selling mostly to existing iPhone customers. Arment used the sales of his own application, which are historically fairly steady, to analyze the current level of Verizon iPhone sales.

Here are the basics from his blog:

Since my ranks rarely change significantly, the resulting sales volumes seem to track the entire App Store’s volume. In other words, since my rank is held mostly constant, but my sales vary, it’s reasonable to extrapolate that trends in my sales indicate approximate trends in the entire App Store market.

The results are fairly obvious: I see huge spikes whenever there’s a new iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad released, whenever they become available in a major new country, or whenever there’s a major reason for people to buy a lot of them (like the holidays).

Arment hasn’t seen any spikes surrounding the Verizon iPhone release, though. In fact, things have been surprisingly moderate. Arment’s own theory about slow adaptation among Verizon customers seems spot on to me. He thinks most of early adapters are the hardcore smartphone nerds. These are the people that wait in lines and stay up until 3AM to pre-order. These are people who put up with AT&T just so they could have the iPhone.

The next wave of iPhone owners are the casuals – people who have seen the phone and liked it but aren’t in any real hurry to buy one. Casual users always take longer to adapt new tech and the Verizon iPhone won’t likely be an exception.

Verizon officially gets the iPhone – available February 10th

Verizon iPhone.

It is finally, really, actually, verifiably true: Verizon will officially offer the iPhone starting February 10th of this year. Lowell McAdam made the announcement from New York this morning, saying, “If the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true. We’re very very excited about our announcement today.”

It is definitely exciting news. People have been waiting a very long time for this kind of announcement, though personally, I won’t be switching. Not yet anyway.

For one thing, Verizon’s network will be slower. More reliable? Sure, but still slower. I live in a small town in North Carolina and I rarely see service congestion on my iPhone. While AT&T is definitely unreliable in other parts of the world, it’s just fine here. My data is snappy and I rarely drop calls. The only reason to switch would be in network calling to the rest of my family, but I have enough rollover minutes saved up to more than accommodate my dialing habits.

At the very earliest, I’d think about switching in June of 2012. By then, the iPhone 6 should be out, and Verizon’s network should be fast enough to warrant the change. I’ll also, god willing, be living in a different part of the country, and I’d like the assurance that I’ll have a reliable network there.

There is one extremely compelling reason to switch, even if you aren’t having network trouble. The Verizon iPhone will allow you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. After traveling near the holidays and getting stuck in airports with $7/hour internet fees, I would love few things more than the ability to use my phone as a hotspot. I would say that AT&T will get this feature soon, but the truth is it probably won’t. AT&T has enough data trouble as it is. Clogging its network with more data means reliability will likely take another hit, something AT&T can’t really afford. We’ll see how Verizon handles the iPhone data load.

Samsung Galaxy S reaches 3 million shipped

Samsung Galaxy S.There’s one thing I can gather from news that the Samsung Galaxy S has shipped three million units to the US: Americans love big things. That’s really no surprise, and it’s sort of a joke, because the Galaxy S is a pretty badass litt…er…gigantic phone.

“We’re in a situation where we wish we had more supply,” Chief Marketing Officer Paul Golden told Reuters. That’s a good place to be, but also a bit of a scary place, too. Supply shortages often get extended over a period of months, months during which the company could be moving more handsets.

The tech that’s holding up production is, as with most phones these days, the screen. Samsung’s AMOLED is super-bright, but also takes a while to fabricate. In the end, though, I say good on Samsung for pushing a cool product to market with enough supply to last us a little while. Once the iPhone is on the major American carriers, I’d bet Samsung will find itself with plenty of handsets.

Image: Reuters

More reasons Apple should release a Verizon iPhone soon

NPD mobile stats.

A few days back I wrote about the impetus for a Verizon iPhone launch in early 2011, mostly citing John Gruber from Daring Fireball. NPD just gave us a little information that could very well serve as more evidence of the impending release. The iOS market is actually shrinking, while Android is exploding. You don’t have to be a genius to see how a Verizon iPhone could change that, or at least help Apple’s position.

It’s not that Apple isn’t doing well – its market cap proves that it is – but Android is on so many more handsets now. From Peter Kafka at AllThingsD:

So how did Android gain share? Because it’s on so many other new phones. Canned quote from NPD’s Ross Rubin: “The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.”

The case for a January Verizon iPhone

Verizon iPhone.There have now been countless news stories regarding the January release of a Verizon iPhone. Everyone’s been waiting for it, but does January really make sense? Not to me. Not to a lot of people. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball thinks differently, though. He’s got all kinds of reasons that a January Verizon iPhone release makes sense.

My biggest issue is timing. Verizon’s going to miss the holiday season, which is a big miss. There’s also the fact that Apple has announced a new iPhone during each of the past couple summers. So consumers will have six months with their new toy before a new one comes out?

Gruber addresses my concerns, and plenty of others, in a post that actually has me believing it will happen. Here’s the part that makes the most sense:

Bottom line: If Apple’s goal is to accelerate iPhone market share, particularly in competition with Android, then they should finalize a deal with Verizon soon. And if they’re going to do it soon, that means CDMA, not LTE.

A lot of people, myself included, haven’t considered that LTE isn’t going to be nationwide. It will be out in some cities, tested in some cities, and completely overloaded in some citites. In short, most of America isn’t going to see LTE for a while, and Apple can’t wait that long to try to get Verizon customers off Android. I know I’ve thought a time or two about jumping the AT&T ship and just getting on to Android. The App Store kept me around, but it’s only so long before Android has everything I want (they just got Angry Birds!).