According to Fortune, Yair Reiner of Oppenheimer sent out a note to clients on Friday morning that by his estimates, Apple sold 1.5 million iPhone 4 units on release day, and that is one and a half times the number Apple sold in the first three days of the iPhone 3G [S] release.  His math breaks down as:

  • 600,000 pre-ordered in the U.S.
  • plus 100,000 non- reserved units sold day of at Apple stores (average 500 per store)
  • plus 50,000 sold into Best Buy (~45 per store, according to our checks).
  • Then multiply by two for international.

iphone 4 His math is … interesting … to say the least, and it makes a whole sleigh full of assumptions, but one would hope it is at least educated guesses.

The part of the report that was rooted in at least some facts came from a survey of 714 customers at iPhone 4 launch events, and those told an interesting story:

  • 76% upgrades, on average after 14.7 months;
  • 14% planned to buy an iPad in the next three months;
  • 21% were new to AT&T (T), 41% of those coming from T-Mobile (DT) and 28% from Verizon (VZ).

That iPad intent number is a bit misleading.  In another article from Fortune, it is explained that 28 percent of the respondents already owned an iPad, and of the remaining 72 percent, 39 percent said they intended to buy an iPad within the next 12 months.

The big question is if Apple will be able to maintain this sales momentum with the numerous complaints about the call reception on the phone.  (More on that here and here)  With Apple now telling customers they have to avoid gripping the phone in certain ways, it may drive some potential customers away, but we’ll have to wait and see as Apple announces official numbers.  The reception issue could be a major deal breaker for this iteration of the iPhone.

What say you?  Do you think Apple sold 1.5 million iPhone’s on the first day?