Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Four reasons Apple's iPhone 5 sales were anything but soft

September 25, 2012: 8:27 AM ET

"Don't be fooled," writes an analyst. "This is an epic launch."

The iPhone 5 queue at London's Regent Street store. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

FORTUNE -- Topeka Capital's Brian White, whose $1,111 price target for Apple (AAPL) is the highest we've seen from a mainstream analyst, issued a note Tuesday offering four reasons the market (which at one point Monday had knocked $16 billion off Apple's market cap) misread the significance of the 5 million iPhones sold last weekend.

  • "iPhone 5 Pre-Orders Were a Blowout and Double the iPhone 4S." This equates to 100% year over year growth for the iPhone 5 compared with 67% for the iPhone 4S. Pre-orders are demand-related, White notes, and not affected by short supplies.
  • "The iPhone 5 Pre-Orders Sell Out in an Hour Vs. Nearly a Day for 4S."  The iPhone 4S took nearly a full day for pre-orders to sell out (i.e., ship within one week) versus about an hour for the iPhone 5.
  • "iPhone 5 Reaches 3-4 Weeks After Pre-Order Tally Vs. 1-2 Weeks for 4S." The shipping time for the iPhone 5 remained at 3-4 weeks Monday night and another 22 countries are set to launch on Friday.
  • "Most Apple Stores Sold Out of the iPhone 5 but Most Did Not for the 4S." White's survey found the iPhone 5 was sold out at approximately half of the U.S. Apple retail stores by Saturday (the second day) and 80-85% by Sunday evening (the third day).

Did you catch that? More than eight out of ten of U.S. Apple Stores were out of stock by Sunday night.

"Don't Be Fooled by 3-Day iPhone 5 Tally, " reads the headline of White's note. "This is an Epic Launch."

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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