Did Apple Beat iPhone Sales Forecasts or Not?

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

A few days ago I wrote a post here saying that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had surpassed most first-weekend iPhone sale estimates from analysts. Now, however, the idea is out there that iPhone actually didn't meet initial expectations.

So, what's the story? Did Apple meet/beat iPhone sales forecasts or not?

The answer, it seems, depends on how much credence you put in those vestiges of the 1990s, whisper numbers. While it seems clear Apple sold more iPhones than analysts publicly forecast, at least some analysts also had non-published numbers that they said iPhone could hit, like ... one million units.

Fine, you say, so with 700,000 or so units of first weekend sales did Apple meet, beat, or miss? The answer really depends. If you don't put much stock (no pun intended) in whisper numbers, then Apple beat the numbers; if you want to give credence to whispers then Apple missed (slightly).

Looking farther out, however, I will say that I think the ongoing iPhone run rate is likely to be slower than expected. Run rate is driven by word of mouth, and word of mouth on iPhone is somewhat worse than I expected. People are complaining about usability, call quality, missing features, and a long list of things that need to be fixed. While iPhone will be a major product, this 1.0 release will need to be updated very quickly.