Throngs greet Apple's newest iPhones, gold color sells out
By Poornima Gupta and Neha Alawadhi
(Reuters) - Thousands of iPhone enthusiasts queued up at Apple Inc stores around the world on Friday as two new models of the smartphone went on sale, but Apple's shares ended slightly lower as investors wait for initial sales figures, due as early as next week.
Long lines formed outside stores in Sydney, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco and other cities as Apple broke with tradition and launched two iPhone models - the new top-of-the-line 5S and the less-expensive 5C - on the same day.
Apple watchers said early signs pointed to more demand for the 5S than last year's new model. But some cautioned that the size of the crowds this year may not be an accurate gauge because consumers were unable to order the more expensive model online ahead of time, as with previous launches.
"While it is likely some of this line is due to not having an early pre-order option for the 5S, we still believe it shows loyalty to the iPhone remains strong among Apple's installed base," said ISI Group analyst Brian Marshall. He estimates Apple will sell about 6 million units in the first three days.
Apple sold more 5 million of the previous iPhone 5 units during its opening weekend last year.
A survey done by Piper Jaffray of 416 customers standing in lines outside of stores in New York, San Francisco and Minneapolis found that 95 percent of the people were planning to buy the 5S. Gene Munster, analyst with Piper Jaffray, estimates Apple will sell 5 million to 6 million iPhones over the weekend.
While Apple's stock dipped one percent by the close of trade, shares of Avago and TriQuint ended higher after they were identified as component suppliers for the new models.
The gold-colored version of the 5S, which also comes in silver and gray, was already sold out as of Friday and will now ship only in October, according to Apple's website. The gray and silver versions can still ship in 7 to 10 days. Continued...