There are a few smart steps that Apple took which have helped the iPhone 4 sell more than 1.7 million units in only 72 hours.
(a) Simultaneous launch in the US and Elsewhere
Apple has managed to release the device in four other territories outside the US, including Japan, France, United Kingdom and Germany. This allowed the company to sell and take preorders for more iPhones well before the launch date. Some analysts estimate that as much as half of the iPhone sales are actually overseas.
(b) Locked and unlocked
For the first time ever, Apple has sold an unlocked iPhone from day one, something that gives it a significant pulling power especially amongst a growing crowd of users that want the freedom to choose whichever provider they want, whenever they want to. Unlocked phones also mean that iPhone 4 users will be able to use their phones in other countries as well. Expect an exploding grey market.
(c) More networks
While in the US, AT&T still has the monopoly on iPhone sales, it is not the case elsewhere. In the UK for example, six out of the seven main mobile phone operators will be selling the iPhone 4 with Virgin Mobile being the only one left out. More networks mean more customers and more competition.
(d) Not a big price premium over competitors
Apple did not charge significantly more than its competitors as it is usually the case. As we've showed before, the iPhone 4 is not much more expensive than the http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2010/6/19/apple-iphone-4-payg-vs-contract-options/ HTC Desire for example, especially when you add in the price of the 16GB SD Card. At SRP, the difference was only £30 between the 16GB versions.
(e) Compelling upgrades
Apple significantly upped the ante with the iPhone 4. Not only it has a new design, it also incorporates twice the memory, a different processor, a better screen with a higher resolution, a better camera, a front facing camera, an additional microphone and a bigger battery.