iPhone Index tanking?

Our highly unscientific, utterly anecdotal, but nonetheless revealing measurement of American economic health — and a world exclusive to this blog — continues to trend downward.  At least we think so.  Just in after the close from the WSJ website:

In its earnings release Wednesday, Apple didn't say exactly how many iPhones it sold during the product's first days, saying instead that it sold a total of 270,000 iPhones and related accessories, which includes such things as headphones and carrying cases. Apple said it expects to sell one million iPhones by the end of the current quarter.

Brilliant!  Apple is shrouding its iPhone sales in as much mystery as the U.S. government shrouds M3!  Smashing!

None of this bodes well after the news yesterday that iPhone activations from the first two days of sales were well below expectations.  Among the various excuses for those inflated expectations, this one from an analyst quoted by the WSJ is undoubtedly my favorite:

Many of the Wall Street analysts were taking their cues from the Apple stores in New York, which likely painted an overly optimistic picture of demand for the device, he said.

You can't make this stuff up.

The fact is, in the current economic environment, vast numbers of people who don't make enough money to live in New York have better things to do with their $500 or $600 than spend it on a phone that operates on a pokey-slow network, run by a carrier that hands over your data to the National Security Agency — no matter how sleek or sexy the device itself might be.  (And I'm no Apple basher; Macs are all I've owned as long as I've had a computer at home.)

Still…there are intriguing investing possibilities even in a seemingly-saturated market like wireless phones.  Our resident small-cap guru Greg Guenthner explores one of them in today's Sleuth.