Despite the recent efforts from competitors like Samsung and Motorola to denigrate the all-new iPhone 5, customers have lined up to purchase Apple’s latest smartphone in record numbers. Since its release last Friday, the iPhone 5 sold more than five million units in its first weekend available. The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company announced the news in a press release early Monday morning.
“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,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “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. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone.”
After announcing the iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, the company waited until one week before the phone’s release date on Sept. 14 to begin taking pre-orders for the phone. In less than two hours, Apple sold out of its first batch of pre-orders, and shortly thereafter, US LTE carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless also reported their initial iPhone 5 stock had sold out.
Five million units in the first weekend is a new sales record for iPhone launch weekends -- Apple sold one million more units in the iPhone 5’s debut weekend compared to last year, when the company announced in October it had sold four million units of the iPhone 4S in its first weekend on shelves. While the numbers are impressive, they still fall below Wall Street’s expectations, in which some analysts expected Apple could sell as many as 10 million units in its first weekend. J.P. Morgan predicted Apple could sell as many as 50 million iPhone 5 units in the fourth quarter this year.
The iPhone 5 went on sale this weekend in nine countries in its first weekend, including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. Apple will release the iPhone 5 in 22 more countries this Thursday, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The iPhone 5 is the first Apple smartphone to support the high-speed Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, which will be supported on a total of 17 different global carriers, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the US. Apple is currently working with other LTE companies around the world to make models of their phone compatible with those companies’ signature radio bands.
The iPhone 5 features a taller and thinner build from previous models, including a new 4-inch Retina Display with a 16:9 ratio for watching widescreen videos in HD. The iPhone 5 also comes with new smaller dock connector, LTE support, an improved camera infrastructure, as well as the all-new custom-built A6 chip, which is said to contain three cores and run twice as fast as the A5 chip that powers the iPad 2, iPhone 4S, new iPad and Apple TV.
The iPhone 5 comes pre-loaded with the iOS 6 mobile operating system, which features more than 200 new features including an all-new Apple-made Maps application, as well as a newly-enhanced version of Siri, the virtual personal assistant introduced by Apple last year in the iPhone 4S.
All retailers and carriers currently sell two-year plans for the iPhone 5, and will not sell the phone for any less or more than Apple's set prices. The iPhone 5 costs $199 for 16GB of storage, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB, and comes in two color schemes: black and slate, or white and silver.