Gotta love those analysts, as they’re always good for stirring the rumor mill - this time it’s BusinessWeek reporting claims that Apple will likely be ending it’s exclusive relationship with AT&T in order to bring the iPhone to all major US carriers. According to Tim Horan, telecommunications analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., T-Mobile USA should have the iPhone available this summer (whatever the follow-up to the iPhone 3GS turns out to be,) with Verizon and Sprint getting the goods this fall. Even Clearwire will be able to get in on the action, as they are expected to get the iPhone sometime in 2011. Of course, AT&T has been the exclusive carrier of the iPhone since it launched in June 2007.
Of course, Apple has the perfect opportunity to announce changes like this if they’d like, as they’ve got what many are predicting to be a colossal Apple event on January 27th, just two days from now. We’ll keep you posted.
Read More | BusinessWeek
Sony has examined the most recent NPD numbers and, happy with what they saw, are attributing their 61% jump from the previous month’s numbers to the PlayStation 3 price drop they announced just prior to E3. They are quick to point out that anticipation for some actual exclusive titles like Heavenly Sword and Warhawk may have helped drive interest in their slow-out-of-the-gate console.
Despite the predictably upbeat tone of Sony’s blog post, some have had a less than enthusiastic response to July’s NPD numbers since many analysts predicted that Sony was going to beat the Xbox 360‘s sales in July largely because of the price drop. That the PS3 was still unable to overtake the 360 in sales in spite of a comparatively more affordable price has some worrying that Sony just doesn’t have enough market draw to convince consumers to take the plunge. What is plainly obvious now is that Sony drastically overestimated the price the market would bear: It’s wallet-busting PS3 has lagged in sales from the beginning while Nintendo’s $250 Wii has flown off store shelves consistently for almost a year and as soon as the price went down on the PlayStation, it saw an improvement in units moved.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
American Technology Research’s recent stock check of the retail channel is showing PS3 availability but no Wii availability, according to a Reuters report. Analyst Paul-Jon McNealy found 28 of 52 stores had Playstation 3 consoles for sale; none of the 52 stores had any Wii consoles at all. Apparently most stores had single-digit availability, with one store having more than 60 machines in stock. Without further data, it is hard to judge what the stock situations actually mean. Nintendo could be trickling in Wii consoles as they try and sate demand for the game system worldwide. Sony claims that the recent pockets of availability are due to their continued efforts to fill their shipping channel. Future sales numbers will be the only way to determine whether Sony’s claims are correct or if demand is really softening.
Read More | Reuters
Analyst group IDG has released their latest hardware and software sales projections for the North American and Western European territories, and Next Generation has summarized some of the predictions for the North American market.
IDG believes that in the short term, the Xbox 360 will benefit from general hardware shortages for the Playstation 3 and the Wii; the 2006 sales numbers bear this out, with the Playstation 3 moving just short of 1 million units in 2006, and the Wii moving about 1.1 million. This does seem somewhat at odds with other Wii sales numbers; current Nintendo projections have 1 million consoles available at launch alone, with an additional 100,000+ units shipping to retailers each week. Pre-order numbers for retailers also have been much larger for the Wii than the Playstation 3. It looks like console supply shortages will be the largest impact on Playstation 3 sales.
Still, despite these problems, IDG predicts that the Playstation 3 will overtake the Xbox 360 in the North American market by 2010. It is unclear what “winning” the console war will mean to either Sony or Microsoft, since the lead will be effectively split in this territory. Microsoft’s inability to penetrate the Japanese market may give Sony the edge globally.
The Wii predictions seem on the small side. IDG claims that the bundled Wii Sports may reduce software attach rate, but Next Generation’s excerpts otherwise give little reason behind the software sales projections. They could be basing their numbers on a growth path over the Wii, but the unknown factor will be how well Nintendo does with their “Blue Ocean” strategy to grow the video game market.
Read More | Next Generation
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