Apple (AAPL) shares broke through the $700 mark for the first time Monday after the tech giant confirmed that iPhone 5 pre-orders topped 2 million in just 24 hours of availability, twice the level that the iPhone 4S managed on day one. That by the way had beaten Apple’s previous one-day ‘relatively modest’ record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.
Apparently, loyalty for Apple products remains intact as customers response has been once again “phenomenal”, prompting Wall Street analysts to raise EPS estimates, price targets, and projected sales of iPhone 5 units by year end.
“The pace of this iPhone 5 roll-out is the fastest in the iPhone’s history and points to a big December quarter,” Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, who expects Apple to sell 45.21 million iPhones in the December quarter, up 22% from last year, was quoted as saying to Reuters news agency. Reitzes said his estimates “could still be conservative.”
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley said he now expected Apple to ship between 9 -10 million next-gen smartphones from Friday to September 29, the last day of its fiscal 2012 year.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster published a new research note following Apple’s announcement of booking over two million iPhone 5 orders in the first 24 hours. He predicted the world’s most valuable company, whose shares have seen an impressive rise of nearly 75% in the last 52 weeks, can deliver 8 million (range of 6-10 million) iPhones in the launch weekend, with 49 million iPhones overall in December. Munster also raised his EPS estimates for the September and December quarters to $44.32 from $43.25, and to $56.96 from $56.90, respectively.
Meanwhile, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg believe that as many as 58 million units of the iPhone 5 could be purchased by Christmas, generating over $36 billion in sales for the $656 billion market cap company.
“…The customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing, said in a news release Monday morning. “iPhone 5 is the best iPhone yet, the most beautiful product we’ve ever made, and we hope customers love it as much as we do,” Apple’s marketing executive added.
Apple however, also said that while most orders will be delivered this Friday, demand for the iPhone 5 pre-orders outstripped initial supply. As a result, some of the devices are scheduled for delivery in October.
The iPhone 5 will go on sale Sept. 21, at 356 Apple retail locations across the U.S., beginning with 8 a.m. local time, and most of the major European markets, such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The smartphone, Apple’s best-selling and most profitable product, accounting for more than half of its profits, then goes on sale on September 28 in 22 other countries.
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