Apple iPhone 5 pre-orders exhaust supply in 1 hour, indicate crush of demand

Demand for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 is riding high if the amount of pre-orders the company received this morning is to be believed. Apple ran out of stock for pre-orders in about an hour and is now telling customers on its website that iPhone 5s ordered now will ship in two weeks.

Pre-orders began at 3:01 a.m. ET today and, according to multiple reports, the traffic crashed Apple's servers for its online store. The demand for the iPhone 5 was seemingly greater than it was last year when the iPhone 4S was introduced; it took 22 hours for Apple to run out of stock then. CNET reported online stores for carriers, including AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), also crashed briefly before returning. Pre-orders that were placed before Apple ran out of stock will ship by Sept. 21, the day that the iPhone 5 goes on sale in stores.

As of mid-morning East Coast time, the online stores for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T and Sprint showed that the iPhone 5 was in stock and would be delivered by Sept. 21.

Analysts have speculated that Apple might sell as many as 10 million iPhones by the end of September. Some analysts think that Apple may sell 33 million iPhones in the third quarter, according to Reuters, which would be Apple's third-highest quarter ever.

The iPhone 5 will go on sale Sept. 21 in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. That will give Apple a full week to record iPhone sales for the third quarter. Apple said more countries will follow the week after and that by December the iPhone 5 will be available in 100 countries for 240 carriers.

"We are positively surprised that this iPhone rollout is Apple's fastest yet," Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a research note, according to Reuters, adding that they had previously thought supply constraints for components would dampen sales. "Given this pace it would seem Apple is very well positioned for upside in the December quarter."

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this CNET article
- see this CNET article
- see this Fortune article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Engadget post

Special Report: Apple's iPhone 5: Complete coverage

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