Apple says iPhone 4S pre-orders top million in a day

Record numbers greet Apple's first release since death of co-founder Steve Jobs
Apple says iPhone 4S pre-orders top million in a day
Apple unveiled iPhone 4S last week, pricing it at $199, $299 and $399, based on the features
By Bloomberg
Tue 11 Oct 2011 10:23 AM

Apple Inc received more than a million preorders for the iPhone 4S in a single day, putting the company on a record-setting sales pace ahead of the device’s Oct 14 release.

The preorders topped the previous record of 600,000 set by the iPhone 4 last year, Cupertino, California-based Apple said today in a statement. Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S last week, pricing it at $199, $299 and $399, depending on the features.

The rush signals that there’s pent-up demand for the new model, which was released 16 months after the last one - a longer wait than with previous iPhone releases. The preorders indicate Apple may sell nearly 3 million in the first weekend, almost double the number sold in the opening weekend last year, said Mike Abramsky, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. The sales also suggest that customers were unfazed by Apple not updating the iPhone’s body design.

“The early momentum of the iPhone 4S reaffirms Apple’s leadership in smartphones,” said Mark Moskowitz, an analyst at JPMorgan & Chase Co. The strength of the orders should silence those who said the lack of a redesigned body on the iPhone 4S would deter buyers, he said.

Apple may sell more than 25 million iPhones in the quarter ending in December, making it the “strongest iPhone launch ever,” said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray Cos. The iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of revenue, accounting for about half of sales.

The new model comes with voice-command features and a higher-resolution camera, and can run as long as 8 hours on one charge. It also has an A5 chip that will make graphics seven times faster than the old processor and an “intelligent antenna system” for improved call quality.

Apple’s shares rose 5.1 percent to $388.81 Tuesday in New York trading. The stock has increased 21 percent this year.

The iPhone 4S will be Apple’s first major hardware release since the Oct 5 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. It will be available at Apple retail stores in the US beginning at 8 am local time on Oct. 14, the Cupertino, California-based company said today in a statement.

For the first time, the device is available from all three of the largest US carriers. AT&T Inc said Oct 7 that it received more than 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S in 12 hours, marking the company’s most successful debut yet for the Apple device. The other two, Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp, haven’t released sales figures. The phone works with both CDMA and GSM wireless standards, which are used in different parts of the world.

Adding Sprint as a carrier has helped boost preorders, said Jeffrey Fidacaro, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group. Sprint, the third-largest US mobile-phone service, has an opportunity to add 6 million users a year, he said.

The record sales also may be a tribute to Jobs’s legacy, said William Choi, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott.

“It’s the last phone developed with Steve Jobs at Apple,” Choi said. “There are definitely some sentiments at play here.”

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