What could you achieve if you had customers as enthusiastic (and forgiving) as Apple’s?

In case you missed it, Apple launched the new version of their popular iPhone last Friday. In many places, Apple and AT&T stores sold out within hours, and Apple’s computer servers couldn’t keep up with all the requests from new users eager to activate their phones. On Saturday morning, the situation was a front page story for some newspapers, and many bloggers considered it to be one of Apple’s worst product launches ever.

Apparently, that didn’t matter much.

iPhone 3G line in Orlando Here was the scene at the Mall at Millenia in Orlando on Sunday evening:

Two days after the product launched, there was still a five-hour wait for an iPhone at this mall. Tens of thousands of others were doing the same thing across the country and 20 other countries. All kinds of problems reported, plenty of reasons to wait a week or two, and … no one really cared. The aura of the brand won out.

By Monday morning, Apple was able to announce that they had sold over ONE MILLION new phones — by many accounts, the most successful product launch ever. I don’t just mean for Apple … it’s already being recognized as the biggest launch for any consumer electronics product, ever. Talk about a complete turnaround in coverage in just 48 hours. No apologies, no mass refunds … just a million customers happy to hand their cash over to Mr. Jobs & Co.

All for a phone.

So again, I ask you … What could you and your company accomplish if you knew your customers would still love you after a major screw-up? What could you achieve if you flipped your industry on its side and created products that your customers just had to have the minute it became available? What could you achieve if your customers were your biggest fans?

Now go do it.