Apple shares hit a record high yesterday, crossing the $700 mark for the first time after the company said it had notched a record 2 million pre-orders for its iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours the smartphone was on sale.
The sales level was more than double the number achieved last year when Apple released the iPhone 4S, and puts the company in position to meet expectations of selling more than 10 million of the devices in its first week on the market.
Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc, raised his estimate of iPhone sales in the current quarter from 23 million units to 26 million. A poll of analysts by Bloomberg News yielded an average estimate of 58 million iPhones sold by the end of the year, which would mean a revenue of more than $36 billion for Apple, which is already the world's most valuable company.
The new phone, which boasts upgrades including an improved processor, larger screen and better camera, will be available for purchase Friday. Apple kicked off pre-orders for the device a week earlier, selling out in the US, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, Japan, Britain and other launch countries.
"IPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S, and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.