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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it sold more than five million iPhone 5 units in the three days since the phone reached stores, but the record-breaking number was still under analyst expectations. The iPhone 4S had sold four million units in its opening weekend last year.
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However, several analysts had predicted much higher iPhone 5 sales for the weekend. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster had estimated Apple would sell 10 million units during the opening weekend, while Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group, had predicted sales of 6 million to 8 million phones. “The number is lower than what people had expected,” Topeka Capital analyst Brian White told Bloomberg. He had estimated debut weekend sales of 6 million to 6.5 million units. “This seems to be driven more by availability than demand.”
These sales will be part of Apple’s financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter ending September 30. According to Bloomberg, the company is expected to report profit of about $8.3 billion on sales of $36.1 billion.
The company did sell out of its initial inventory, according to chief executive Tim Cook, who added that most customers who had pre-ordered the phone had their devices shipped already. “Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” Cook said in a statement. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”
The phone went on sale in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the U.K. on September 21 and will be in 22 additional countries on September 28. Apple is aiming to take the phone to more than 100 countries by the end of the year in what will be the fastest launch for any of the company’s products in history.
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