POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 15, 2012
Apple Inc. rose to a record after the company said orders made early Friday for the iPhone 5 from its online store won't be shipped for two weeks, fueling speculation that the new model has sold out.
The shares climbed 1.2 percent to $691.28, or $8.30, at the close in New York, extending gains for the year to 71 percent.
The iPhone is Apple's best-selling product, making up about two-thirds of profit. The company's entry into the smartphone market in 2007 has resulted in sales of 244 million iPhone units and helped Apple become the most valuable company. Apple's website says the iPhone 5 will ship Sept. 28, a week after it's scheduled to be in stores, a sign demand is outpacing supply.
"The initial batch is sold out," Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., said in an interview. He raised his sales estimate for the quarter ending in September to 26 million units, from 23 million. "We think that could turn out to be conservative."
An hour after Apple's website began taking orders at midnight, at least one model — the black 32-gigabyte iPhone 5 with an AT&T Inc. contract — was shipping in two weeks to buyers in San Francisco.
"Pre-orders for iPhone 5 have been incredible," said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple. "We've been completely blown away by the customer response."
While previous iPhone models sold out quickly online, "I don't think it happened quite this fast," Tavis McCourt, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates, said in an interview. "The speed here is unusual."
Mobile-service carriers AT&T, Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Wireless have the iPhone available to pre-order with delivery by Friday, according to the companies' websites.
As many as 58 million units of the iPhone 5 may sell by the end of the year, according the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That could generate as much as $36.2 billion in sales for Apple, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.