How Many VZW iPhones Have Already Been Sold?

Search network Chitika launched an "iPhone tracker" showing the distribution of iPhone-generated traffic on its network. In just over 48 hours since its public launch the Verizon iPhone in the US is responsible for 3.6% of the traffic that Chitika is seeing on its network. 

But how many phones is that? Chitika research director Dan Ruby estimated that the traffic was coming from roughly 900K Verizon iPhones. 

The crowds that turned out for Thursday's in-store launch of the iPhone were relatively light. There were several potential explanations, including the weather, the online pre-orders and the prospect of an iPhone 5 this summer.

Many Verizon customers who really wanted the iPhone ordered it online. Verizon said last week that it had "record sales" of the iPhone over the Internet, exceeding previous first day sales totals. 

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AT&T has been doing a number of things to keep its iPhone customers from jumping ship: including rewarding them with 1000 minutes and offering a broad, new free mobile to mobile calling plan. These tactics, combined with general "inertia" seem to be working. 

According to a pre-iPhone launch Forbes article, relying on anecdotal information from electronics reseller Gazelle, more existing Verizon customers appear to be ditching their Motorola Droid phones than AT&T customers defecting to Verizon:

Gazelle, which has retail partners but primarily operates through its website, says it has received thousands of Droids following Verizon’s Jan. 11 announcement. The recent shipments have doubled the volume of Droid phones the company usually gets, according to Gazelle President and Chief Executive Israel Ganot. Droid trade-ins climbed even higher in the past week when Verizon began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone, says Ganot. Gazelle expects the pace to accelerate more once Verizon opens iPhone orders to the general public on Feb. 10.

Gazelle has seen a smaller bump–around 20%–in the number of AT&T iPhones coming in over the past few weeks, says Kristina Kennedy, the company’s senior manager of branding.

While the relentless introduction of new and better Android handsets makes buying one ever more challenging -- the new "flagship" will be out next month -- that sort of thinking may now be weighing on the iPhone. It's hard to know how much the "inside baseball" rumors and tech coverage permeates the public consciousness. But it appears that some people are waiting for the next iPhone.

Certainly I'm not going to buy an iPhone 4 on Verizon when iPhone 5 is probably coming in a few months.