Scott Moritz and TheStreet.com’s Million iPhone La‑La Land

Scott Moritz, the TheStreet.com columnist whom I dinged a few weeks ago for his bullshit about a supposed “whisper number” that Apple had actually expected to sell one million iPhones in the first weekend, is back at it:

Apple shares took a 3% dip Tuesday amid speculation about a cut in production of the trendy iPod-inspired phone. The chatter that sent the stock down was that Apple was reducing its production of iPhones from “9 million units to 4.5 million units,” according to a note from the stock trading desk at Miller Tabak & Co.

Whether it’s true that Apple has reduced production orders for iPhone, I don’t know. (But I suspect if they did, the news would be unlikely to reach Wall Street — bad news seems even less likely to leak than good news, and Apple rarely leaks these days.) But, regardless whether it’s true, the rumor alone sent AAPL shares down, and it’s certainly worth reporting what the rumor was.

Update: It ends up the “note” from Miller Tabak doesn’t exist, either. Peter Boockvar, an analyst for Miller Tabak, told AppleInsider, “Disregard it. There’s no note on Apple today. It’s pure noise.” What Moritz published on TheStreet.com was false.

Then Moritz heads off into “one million iPhones” la-la land again:

The hotly anticipated iPhone generated a great deal of attention and initial sales were brisk. But as TheStreet.com reported, the demand was less than some had anticipated. People familiar with the company said at the time that Apple were prepared to sell out the 1 million phones it had ready for its weekend debut.

Is it possible that Apple executives had secretly hoped for or even expected an even stronger demand for iPhones over the opening weekend? Sure. But is it possible they expected to sell one million of them? No.

We know how many Apple sold Friday night and Saturday: 270,000. We also know that by July 3, four days after the iPhone went on sale, most Apple stores were sold out. How could Apple possibly have expected or even hoped to sell 700,000 additional iPhones over the opening weekend if they were nearly sold out of them by Tuesday?

You can argue whether the iPhone’s debut was great or really great, but you can’t argue that Apple had actually hoped to sell more than twice as many of them as they actually did. Clearly, though, there’s a contingent of the business press attempting to argue just that.

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