Apple iPhone 5 fever rages despite grumbling over maps
By Poornima Gupta and Peter Schwartzstein
SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON (Reuters) - Apple Inc fans queued around city blocks worldwide on Friday to get their hands on the new iPhone 5, pointing to a strong holiday season for the consumer device maker despite grumblings about the mapping app in the new smartphone.
The iPhone 5 -- thinner, lighter and with a 4-inch screen -- went on sale in stores across the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, with mobile carriers reporting record demand that looked likely to stretch Apple's supply capacity.
"The line for the iPhone 5 was 70 percent greater than the line for the iPhone 4S despite Apple taking two (times) as many online pre-orders," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. He expects Apple to sell 8 million of the new smartphones over the weekend.
The long lines of excited buyers prompted optimism on Wall Street. Deutsche Bank raised its target on Apple stock to $850 from $775, saying "demand indicators are tracking very strongly."
The iPhone is Apple's highest-margin product and accounts for half of the company's annual revenue. Apple shares were up 0.5 percent to $702 in afternoon trading in New York.
JPMorgan estimates the phone could provide a $3.2 billion boost to the U.S. economy in the fourth quarter - a boost almost equal to the whole economy of Fiji.
Apple's rival and component supplier, Samsung Electronics Co, tried to spoil the party, saying it plans to add the iPhone 5 to its existing patent lawsuits against Apple.
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5 last Friday and booked more than 2 million orders in the first 24 hours - double the first-day sales of the previous iPhone, the 4S. Shipping time for online orders is three to four weeks. Continued...