Demand for Apple Inc’s new smartphone, the iPhone 5, has exceeded initial supply, making it the fastest-selling iPhone ever and pushing the delivery date for some pre-orders to next month.
Apple said on Monday that pre-orders for the new mobile device surpassed 2 million in the first 24 hours. A majority of pre-ordered phones will be delivered as planned by Sept. 21, but many will not be delivered until October, it said.
Pre-orders “have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S, and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
It is not unusual for Apple products to sell out the first day. Orders for the previous iPhone, the 4S, the last product the company introduced before the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, surpassed 1 million in the first 24 hours, beating Apple’s previous one-day record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.
Apple’s U.S. store, at www.apple.com, on Monday morning showed pre-orders for the iPhone 5 would take two to three weeks to ship.
AT&T, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service provider, said it set a sales record with the iPhone 5 over the weekend, making it the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered.
AT&T did not disclose how many iPhones it sold but said the iPhone 5 was still available for pre-order and would go on sale Sept. 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.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said demand was well above expectations.
“Given the much stronger-than-expected iPhone 5 pre-order sales, we expect a meaningful jump in the three-day sales results for the iPhone 5 compared to the over 4 million iPhone 4S weekend sales last year,” he said.
Although more consumers were opting for the pre-order method, White still expects long lines Friday when the phone goes on sale in stores.
Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5 at midnight Pacific time Sept. 14 (0700 GMT Sept. 15). Shipping dates for the slimmer, faster smartphone slipped by a week within an hour of the start of pre-orders.
Apple previously said it would start shipping the iPhone 5 by Sept. 21 in the United States and most of the major markets of Europe such as France, Germany and the UK. It goes on sale Sept. 28 in 22 other countries.
Analysts have forecast that more than 30 million iPhones, including older models, will be sold by the end of September. Sales of iPhones account for more than half of Apple’s revenue.
Shares of Apple were up less than 1 percent at $694.88 in premarket trading on Monday. They closed at $691.28 on the Nasdaq on Friday.
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