Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), the world's most valuable technology company, said it had sold 5 million iPhone 5 models since Friday, a record rollout for a new product. It also said more than 100 million customers had been updated with the iOS 6 system since it became available last Wednesday.
To be sure, the iPhone 5 numbers disappointed Wall Street, where several bullish analysts had expected Apple would sell as many as 10 million iPhone 5s. The news sent shares of Apple tumbling, closing down $9.30 at $690.79, after plunging 2.5 percent to $683.
“Demand for the iPhone 5 has been incredible,” said CEO Tim Cook, who said the Cupertino, Calif., company will try to meet demand as soon as possible. “We appreciate everyone’s patience,” he said.
Seeveral analysts said Apple has been constrained by suppliers and just doesn't have enough models to satisfy demand. Retailers such as RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH) said they hardly had enough iPhone 5s. Apple itself said its entire online store had been sold out as early as Sept. 14.
On Friday, the latest iPhone will go on sale throughout most of continental Europe that was left out of last week’s launch. The iPhone 5 went on sale in Australia, Singapore, the U.S., Canada, the UK, Germany and other countries last week.
"We are not overly concerned," said analyst Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee. The analyst stuck with a prior forecast of sales of 27 million iPhones of all types in the quarter ending Sept. 29 and 46.5 million in the December quarter.
Still, Wu criticized some analysts for providing "irresponsible estimates" that don't take demand into account.
Even Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster backtracked slightly from his 10 million unit prediction, noting he had counted pre-ordered iPhone 5s as well as newly requested ones. He maintained an $810 share target for Apple, though.