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iPhone 7 already a smash hit as pre-orders exceed AT&T’s expectations

Updated Sep 14th, 2016 5:05PM EDT
iPhone 7 Sales
Image: Apple

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Pundits and analysts may be of the mind that Apple’s new iPhone 7 represents an unexciting upgrade, but consumers couldn’t disagree more. Following reports that iPhone 7 pre-orders at both T-Mobile and Sprint shattered existing records, we’re now learning that pre-orders for Apple’s new iPhone are also doing incredibly well over at AT&T.

During a Bank of America Merrill Lynch sponsored webcast on the state of Media, Communications and Entertainment, AT&T CFO John Stephens said that the popularity of the iPhone 7 has already exceeded Ma Bell’s expectations.

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“The reality is as one of the biggest providers of the iPhone services, our sales are up,” Stephens said in a statement relayed by CNBC. “We have seen a real improvement, exceeding our expectations, Now we’ve got a promo out there, and you would hope the promos would be effective and they certainly are.”

Earlier in the week, Sprint said that iPhone pre-orders were up 375% year over year. Meanwhile, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that pre-orders for the iPhone 7 are 4x bigger than what the company experienced with the iPhone 6.

“This has been the biggest launch ever for us,” Legere said. “The first four days of the iPhone 7 launch are by far the biggest ever for T-Mobile. It’s four times bigger than the iPhone 6 for us, at this stage.” Naturally overjoyed, Legere went so far as to call the unprecedented demand for the iPhone 7 a phenomenon.

With iPhone pre-orders impressing at the above 3-carriers, you may be wondering how things are over at Verizon. Well, during the aforementioned webcast, Verizon executive Marni Walden said that iPhone 7 pre-orders are strong but are within line with previous years.

Per CNBC, Walden’s exchange with the event moderator reads as follows:

Moderator: “Some of the competitors in the market have been talking about 4x increases in volumes for iPhone sales. The media has assumed that this is a function of $0 trade-ins and inferring maybe that there is big market share movements or big margin implications for the industry. I wonder if you can speak maybe to, what is Verizon’s iPhone experience? Has this been a game changer, or what’s the story?”

Walden: “I think when people talk about percentages increase it’s all about, ‘Compared to what?’ If you look at Verizon, we had the iPhone second, so your upgrade cycles depend a lot on that, how big your base is, so you know, we’re not going to comment on volume, but I would say you’ve got to ask the question of what it’s compared to ….”

Moderator: “Would you say this is a churn and margin impact for Verizon, or is it more a business as usual upgrade cycle for the iPhone?”

Walden: “We think it’s more of a business as usual for us.”

All told, the iPhone 7 is lining up to be a tremendous and perhaps surprising success. What’s more, news of record-setting pre-orders come at a crucial time for Apple. After seeing iPhone sales rise year after year, the iPhone 6s in 2016 ushered in the company’s first decline in iPhone sales in history.

With reports of strong iPhone 7 sales, shares of Apple have been trending upward this week. At the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple shares were trading at $111.77, up 3.54% for the day and up nearly 8% since the beginning of September.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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