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iPhone 5 sales top 5 million, but miss some estimates

The Apple iPhone 5 sold well in its opening weekend, Apple announced. Still, stock opened down two percent Monday morning. 

By Matthew Shaer / September 24, 2012

An Apple employee distributes iPhone 5 in San Francisco.

Reuters

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Customers picked up five million copies of the iPhone 5 in the first three days the device was on sale, according to Apple. In a press statement released today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new smartphone, which is currently available in a range of European, Asian, and North American markets, had exceeded initial supplies, and predicted that some pre-orders would not ship until next month. 

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"Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible," Cook said. "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. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough iPhone 5s for everyone."

Couple things to note here. First: A sold-out product is a much-buzzed-about product. So although Apple has twice implicitly apologized for the delay in shipping more iPhone 5 handsets, we expect the company is secretly pretty happy to be releasing statements like the one above. Second: Five million is certainly an impressive number, but it actually falls short of many industry predictions. 

As Business Insider points out today, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimated that Apple would ship 6 to 10 million iPhone 5 handsets in the first weekend after launch. Six million handsets, he said, would be a "worst case scenario." So Apple actually failed to meet Munster's worst-case scenario; unsurprisingly, Apple stock was down two percent this morning. 

In related news, Apple continues to deal with the fall-out from its new mapping app. Horizons readers will remember that Apple ditched Google Maps in iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 and replaced it with Apple Maps, an in-house application. But Apple Maps has a number of holes – public transit directions are missing, for instance – and critics have slammed the app as "an unsightly blemish on what is otherwise a beautiful OS." 

Tried out the new iPhone? Drop us a line in the comments section. And to receive regular updates on how technology intersects daily life, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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