Orders for Apple's new iPhone 5 reached 2 million within the first 24 hours of its release, more than doubling the previous first-day sales record set by the handset's predecessor, the iPhone 4S.
The huge demand has surpassed initial supply quantities, and will delay the delivery for many preorders until October; however Apple said the bulk of eager new iPhone 5 customers would have their handsets by the end of the week.
The Cupertino, California-based company also sold out of its two previous smartphone models on the first day, with the iPhone 4S notching up 1 million orders in October 2011, and 600,000 orders for the iPhone 4 in June 2010.
The new iPhone 5 has a 4-inch screen, compared to the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch display, and is also much lighter. It comes with many updates to its iOS operating system and features Apple's new maps software.
The handset is designed to run on the latest-generation 4G network, which is capable of data connections up to 10 times faster than the current 3G standard.
SmartPhone Sales Projections Revised Upward
In the United States, AT&T, the second-largest wireless operator, said the iPhone 5 is the fastest-selling smartphone it has ever stocked, with delays of several weeks expected on some orders. Rival companies Verizon and Sprint Nextel also reported preorder dates have been pushed back.
Delays have also been forecast in some parts of Europe, with France Telecom's Orange network reporting record-breaking orders.
The huge initial demand and Apple's aggressive international rollout schedule has led analysts to scale up their sales forecasts upward.
William Power from Baird Equity Research expects iPhone 5 sales to top 5 million in the first three days, beating the iPhone 4S three-day mark of 4 million, Reuters reported.
By the end of September, analysts are predicting sales of over 30 million units.
The iPhone 5 will be available in-store from Friday September 21 across the US, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and other major European markets. It is scheduled to hit stores in 22 other countries on September 28.
The iPhone is Apple's top-selling device, accounting for around half of its revenue. The company controls 16.9% of the smartphone market, while devices powered by Google's Android platform, spearheaded by Apple's archrival Samsung, hold a 68.1% share.
Key Statistics - World Smartphone Industry (source: TechNavio)
- In the United States, the smartphone market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 29.3% between 2011 and 2015, with the ubiquity of smartphones one of the main contributors.
- China's smartphone market is forecast to grow at an annual rate of almost 28% over the same period, with low-priced handsets one of the main contributing factors.
- The smartphone market in India is expected to grow at an annual rate of over 116% between 2011 and 2015, driven by increasing demand for all-in-one devices.
- Brazil's smartphone market is predicted to grow at an annual rate of almost 90% over the 2011-2015 period. Falling smartphone prices is one of the main contributors.