Thursday, September 13 15:29:57
Sales of Apple's new iPhone 5 could be double those of the previous model in its first week on the market, and up to 33 million iPhones may be sold this quarter as a result of an aggressive launch plan, analysts said.
Many analysts expressed surprise at how quickly Apple planned to roll out the new model around the world, saying this suggested it would be able to keep up with demand for the bigger, faster and slimmer iPhone.
The new model ships on Sept. 21 in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Britain, and will hit 100 countries by the end of the year in the fastest international rollout for an iPhone so far.
"We are positively surprised that this iPhone rollout is Apple's fastest yet," Barclays Capital said in a client note, adding that it had previously thought supply constraints for sensors in the new screens would hold back initial sales.
"Given this pace it would seem Apple is very well positioned for upside in the December quarter."
Analysts raised forecasts for Apple's share price by as much as $125 to between $750 and $820.
Apple shares were up 0.7 percent at $674.74 before the start of regular trading on Thursday.
Apple will continue to win sales with older models, brokerage William Blair and Co added, putting more pressure on Research in Motion Ltd's BlackBerry, other offerings from Nokia Oyj and less-sophisticated smartphones that use Google Inc's Android software.
"The iPhone 4 will be sold for free after subsidies, replacing the 3GS and providing a strong product to compete in the high-growth, low-end smartphone market," William Blair said.
The brokerage raised its sales forecast for all iPhone models by 29 percent to 33 million for the July-September quarter, at the top of forecasts that ranged from about 20 million to about 30 million in brokerage notes seen by Reuters.