Apple sells 2 million new phones, shares touch $700

Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:09pm EDT
 
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By Poornima Gupta and Sayantani Ghosh

(Reuters) - Apple Inc booked orders for over two million iPhone 5 models in the first 24 hours, reflecting a higher-than-expected demand for the consumer device giant's new smartphone and setting it up for a strong holiday quarter.

Apple shares rose in extended after-market trading to touch $700 per share for the first time. They have gained nearly 22 percent in the past 3-1/2 months in the build-up to the launch of the iPhone 5.

Apple said on Monday that pre-orders outstripped initial supply but it would deliver most phones as planned by Friday, the first day of delivery. Many would not be available until October, however.

It is not unusual for Apple products to sell out the first day but this time around Apple has doubled its first-day sales record. Last October, the company booked 1 million orders for the iPhone 4S, in the first 24 hours. That had beaten Apple's previous one-day record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.

The strong preorders could mean a huge holiday quarter for Apple as the iPhone -- its marquee device -- accounts for half of Apple's revenue.

Apple will make initial deliveries of the iPhone 5 by September 21 in the United States and most of the major European markets, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The phone then goes on sale on September 28 in 22 other countries.

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

"The pace of this iPhone 5 roll-out is the fastest in the iPhone's history and points to a big December quarter," said Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, who expects Apple to sell 45.21 million iPhones in the December quarter, up 22 percent from last year. Reitzes said his estimates "could still be conservative."   Continued...

 
The iPhone 5 on display after its introduction during Apple Inc.'s iPhone media event in San Francisco, California September 12, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach