AppleInsider posted current and historical sales figures for the iPhone.

Year Amount Sold
2007 74 days to sell 1 million phones
2009 3 days to sell 1 million phones
2010 3 days to sell 1.7 million phones

You can’t really extrapolate, but that makes it likely the next phone will sell over 2 million in three days. That’s assuming, of course, that Apple can generate the same excitement for the next phone. Lack of supply almost certainly hurt those sales figures. Apple is notoriously conservative about demand and the result is choked supply at launch.

Another interesting figure is that 77% of pre-orders went to existing customers. That’s a great recurring revenue stream for Apple and speaks volumes about customer loyalty.

Personally though, I think the next phone is going to be a much harder sell. Every year there’s been some hardware feature I, personally, wanted to see. The iPhone 4 has fulfilled all of my wants. It’s completely replaced a GPS, camera and Flip HD. According to Apple, increasing the screen resolution would be pointless since no one would be able to tell the difference. What’s left for the next phone?

  • 4G / LTE
  • Faster CPU/multiple cores
  • Faster GPU
  • More memory
  • Better battery
  • Better camera
  • RFID

Out of that list, only the 4G and RFID would be completely new. I’m sure there’s more that Apple’s planning but I don’t know if there’s anything else that will really provide a “wow” feature. Haptic feedback built into the screen? Temperature sensor? :-)

Clearly there are still going to be improvements with the OS itself, but the remaining big button issues don’t require additional hardware. Right now it’s feeling like all of the low-hanging fruit have been eaten.