Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported debut weekend sales for the iPhone 5 that fell short of some analysts’ estimates amid supply constraints.
More than 5 million units of the iPhone 5 were sold in the first three days, surpassing a record set last year by the previous model, the iPhone 4S, Cupertino, California-based Apple said today in a statement. Demand for the new handset exceeded the initial supply, Apple said.
A successful debut for the iPhone, responsible for about two-thirds of profit, is crucial to fueling the growth that transformed Apple from a niche computer maker into the world’s most valuable company. Demand for the iPhone 5, with a bigger screen and faster wireless speeds, gives Apple a boost over rivals including Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) that use Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android mobile software.
“The number is lower than what people had expected,” said Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets, in an interview. He had estimated debut weekend sales of 6 million to 6.5 million units. “This seems to be driven more by availability than demand.”