Apple fans snatched up 5 million iPhone 5s
on the first weekend the new smartphones went on sale, Apple said
But even the record sales fell below sky-high expectations for the new device, sending Apple shares lower in early Wall Street trading.
In a statement Apple CEO Time Cook said the company was working to close the gap between supply and demand that has seen many customers having to wait up to a a month to receive their devices.
"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," he said in a statement. "We appreciate everyone's patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone."
While the weekend's sales figures represent a 1 million unit gain on the iPhone 4s' sales a year ago, they fell sharply from analyst predictions of up to 10 million units sold over the weekend.
Adding to the disappointment was the fact that the launch included more locations than last year. This year's iPhone was simultaneously launched in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Britain, whilst last year's launch did not include Hong Kong and Singapore.
Apple's stock opened 2 percent lower Monday in Wall Street trading, but pared back the losses to 1.4 percent by midday.
The launch of the phone Friday was dogged by negative reviews of Apple's native mapping application, which Apple has chosen to replace Google's popular maps program because of the growing rivalry between the two companies for control of the mobile sector.
However, analysts remain bullish about sales of the iPhone, noting that the shortfall may have been due to supply restrictions.
"We believe that if supply were not a constraint and Apple included all pre-orders, the launch weekend number would have been closer to 7-8 million," wrote Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a research note.
Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee maintained his projection of 27 million iPhone units in the September quarter and 46.5 million units in the December period.
"To us, it isn't about how well a product does in a few days but how it does over the next 2-4 quarters," Wu wrote in a note Monday. "We continue to believe iPhone 5 is a significant update and will drive a powerful product cycle."
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