26 September 2012

Apple sells 2 million new phones, sets early order record

Demand for Apple Inc's new iPhone 5 has exceeded initial supply as the company booked 2 million orders in one day and pushed the delivery date for some preorders to next month. 

Apple said on Monday that it would deliver most preordered phones as planned by Friday, the first day of delivery, but many would not be available until October.

It is not unusual for Apple products to sell out the first day. Last October, the company booked 1 million orders for the previous iPhone, the 4S, in the first 24 hours. That beat Apple's previous one-day record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.

Shares of Apple were up 1 percent at $698.50 in early trading on Monday.

The latest strong preorders could mean a strong holiday quarter for Apple. The iPhone is the marquee device for the company and accounts for half of its revenue.

Given the demand for the device so far and Apple's aggressive rollout of it internationally, some analysts raised their sales estimates.

Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkley said he now expected Apple to ship 9 million to 10 million iPhone 5s from Friday to September 29, the last day of fiscal 2012.

Baird Equity Research William Power estimates that Apple may have booked sales of roughly 5 million iPhone 5s in the first three days. Last year, it sold 4 million iPhone 4S units in that time.

The new phone, which will appear in stores on Friday for walk-in purchases, has a larger, 4-inch screen and is slimmer and far lighter than the previous model. The iPhone 5 supports the faster 4G network and also comes with a number of software updates, including Apple's new in-house maps feature.

Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5 at midnight Pacific time on Friday (0700 GMT Saturday). Shipping dates for the smartphone slipped by a week within an hour of the start of preorders.

On Monday morning, Apple's U.S. store, at www.apple.com, showed preorders placed at that time would take two to three weeks to ship.


AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider, said demand over the weekend had made the iPhone 5 the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered.

AT&T did not disclose how many iPhones it had sold, but said the iPhone 5 was still available for preorder and would go on sale September 21 at AT&T retail stores.

The phone's other carriers, Verizon Communications Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp, also showed similar delays in shipping the phone.

European carriers also reported brisk sales. France Telecom's Orange said bookings for the new phone "have been very strong, breaking the records of what we saw for the iPhone 4 or 4S." But the carrier said it could deliver preorders on time.

Apple previously said it would start shipping the iPhone 5 by September 21 in the United States and most of the major European markets, such as France, Germany and the UK. The phone goes on sale on September 28 in 22 other countries.

Analysts have forecast that Apple will have sold more than 30 million iPhones, including older models, by the end of September. 

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