Apple will announce in January that it has sold 5 million iPhones, according to 9 to 5 Mac, an Apple rumor site. At the iPhone's launch, Steve Jobs set a public goal of selling 10 million iPhones — next year. With the iPhone only on sale for six months, that means Apple's already selling its sleek smartphones at 2008 speed. And that means Jobs could be set to beat his goal significantly next year.
Apple has been selling phones in the U.S. since June, and in parts of Europe since November. Apple's negotiating with carriers in China and Japan. If Apple can roll out in those tech-obsessed countries during 2008 — and analysts expect they will — Apple should soundly beat the 10 million goal. The next hurdle? Jobs hasn't said anything in public, but the so-called "whisper number" being passed around Wall Street is 50 million phones by 2009. In June, had Jobs floated that number, it would have seemed like a fantasy. If he were to float it at Macworld next month, it would strike most listeners as plausible. A reality distortion field, indeed. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)