Apple sells 2M pre-ordered iPhone 5s in 24 hours

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) said it sold 2 million iPhones 5s via pre-orders within the first 24 hours of availability, double the number of iPhone 4S units it sold in the same amount of time last year.

The sales rush, which started early Friday morning, is a strong indication that the iPhone 5 may go on to be Apple's fastest-selling iPhone yet. It will also likely be a boon for Apple's largest U.S. carrier partners--Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S)--as they look to sign up customers. For what it's worth, Apple sold 4 million iPhone 4S units in that device's first weekend of availability in 2011, a figure it seems likely to be eclipsed this time around.

Apple said that "demand for iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on Sept. 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October." The iPhone 5 will go on sale in stores Sept. 21.

AT&T said in a separate statement that the iPhone 5 launch set a sales record, "making it the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered." AT&T made a similar boast last year when it said that it received 200,000 iPhone 4S pre-orders within 12 hours. A Sprint spokeswoman said that "pre-order sales quickly met our expectations" and a Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment on iPhone 5 sales.

A week after the nation's three Tier 1 carriers launch the device on Sept. 21, a number of smaller carriers will also begin selling the iPhone 5. Leap Wireless' (NASDAQ:LEAP) Cricket, C Spire Wireless, Cellcom, Appalachian Wireless, Alaska Communications and GCI of Alaska and nTelos Wireless all confirmed they will join the ranks of these smaller iPhone 5 carriers.

The iPhone 5 will sell for $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32 GB model and $399 for the 64 GB model, all with a two-year contract. The 16 GB iPhone 4S, introduced in October 2011, will drop to $99 with a two-year contract, in keeping with past Apple practice to lower the price of older models. The 8 GB iPhone 4, introduced in 2010, will be free on contract.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 started Sept. 14 with the gadget going 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.

The iPhone 5 has a 4-inch Retina display, up from 3.5 inches on the previous models, as well as a 1136 x 640 screen resolution. The larger screen real estate allows Apple to add in a fifth row of application icons to the screen. The LTE-capable gadget will sport an Apple-designed A6 application processor, which Apple said is twice as fast as the dual-core A5 chip inside the iPhone 4S. Forward Concepts analyst Will Strauss speculated that the A6 is a quad-core 28nm implementation of ARM Holdings' Coretex-A9 processor  The gadget has a "dynamic antenna" and supports not only LTE but also CDMA-1xEV-DO, HSPA+, HSPA, dual-carrier HSDPA, EDGE and GPRS, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

For more:
- see this Apple release
- see this AT&T release
- see this AllThingsD article

Special Report: Apple's iPhone 5: Complete coverage

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