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Apple iPhone sales fall short, but sales potential intact

While Apple iPhone 5 sales don't hit target of optimists, it's manufacturing capacity – not potential sales – that are the limiting factor, says analyst Brian Marshall. It should take three weeks for Apple to built its 7 millionth iPhone 5. 

By Bruno J. NavarroCNBC producer / September 24, 2012

In this Friday file photo, Noah Meloccaro, right, compares his older iPhone 4s to the new iPhone 5 held by Both Gatwech, outside the Apple Store in Omaha, Neb. Apple Inc. said Monday, Sept. 24, 2012, that it sold more than 5 million units of the iPhone 5 in the three days since its launch, less than analysts had expected.

Nati Harnik/AP/File

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While the sales of Apple’s iPhone 5 fell short of the most optimistic estimates, Brian Marshall of ISI Group said Monday on CNBC that the company’s potential growth was still “100 percent greater.”

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 Marshall estimated that there were still “a couple of million units in transit,” based upon the pre-orders of the iPhone 5. “They’ve sold a lot more than 5 million,” he said on “Fast Money.” “We think the story’s intact for sure.”

Marshall said it would take a while to build the all phones that Apple sold in order to reach bullish sales estimates of up to 8 million units.

 “We estimate that they’re currently manufacturing about 275,000 iPhones per day, so to build up 7 million iPhones that takes about three weeks,” he said.

 “Can the market actually take in those phones that they can physically manufacture? Obviously, the answer is yes, and, in fact, they’ll take in a lot more than what they can currently manufacture.”

 Marshall said that in the analysis of all Apple’s 250 telecom carrier partners around the globe, the growth potential for iPhones was “100 percent greater than it is now.”

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