You may have heard that the “boring” iPhone 5 sold five million units during its first weekend on availability in nine major markets. Apple also announced that a hundred million iOS devices are now running iOS 6. But even as Apple notes that “we sold out of our initial supply” of iPhones while promising to “regularly” stock retail stores, first-weekend sales came in below the six million units estimated by analyst Gene Munster (ten million was his best case scenario). As a result, Apple’s shares are down two percent in pre-market trading, perhaps indicating that Wall Street was expecting Cook & Co. to perform slightly better…

The new iPhone sold a million more units compared to the opening weekend of its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, which sold four million units.

Don’t hit the ejection handle yet: a slight decrease in Apple’s shares is in response to higher numbers analysts were expecting, but it is evident from both Apple’s press release and shipping estimates that the company could have sold many more units had its manufacturing partners been able to up their output.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, on the other hand, thinks Apple will report 25 million iPhones (all models) in the September quarter and twice as much in the December quarter. She also expects Cupertino to ship a whopping 200 million iPhones in 2013 – and these are conservative estimates as Apple could see “significant upside if component constraints improve”.

Today, we’re asking you to weigh in on those numbers.

Pretend to be an analyst for a second.

Say your clients had millions invested in shares of Apple.

Would you tell them in your note to unload shares or keep pouring money into AAPL?

In other words, would you deem that five million iPhone 5 units during the opening weekend a disappointment?

The fact that Foxconn, Apple’s favorite manufacturing partner, closed its iPhone 5 plant following a mass brawl this morning won’t help either. Good thing Pegatron is also making iPhones. Apple’s fourth fiscal quarter ends on September 30 and earnings should reveal if high opening weekend demand is sustainable in the long run.

In addition to initially launching in nine major markets on September 22 (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore), the iPhone 5 arrives in an additional 22 countries this coming Friday, September 28: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Apple is planning to have the handset available in over a hundred countries by year’s end.

As for Munster and his 6-10M estimate, which is now the cause of a one percent stock drop this morning, he explains what went wrong:

We believe there are two factors that negatively impacted the number. First, our sales expectation assumed that Apple would include all phones pre-ordered online. We believe that this may have been up to 1 million additional units as units pre-ordered after the middle of the first day were projected to be available in October.

Hm, not sure how exactly Munster knows that Apple’s numbers exclude online pre-orders.

Second, we noted 1.25 days of Apple Retail inventory compared to 2.5 days during the 4S launch. Our 8 million estimate assumed full weekend availability and the counting of all online pre-orders.

So you weaseled your way out of this by blaming pre-orders?

How convenient.

We believe that if supply were not a constraint and Apple included all pre-orders, the launch weekend number would have been closer to 7-8 million, assuming ~1 million October pre-order sales and an additional 1-2 million units at retail.

Gee, I should have been an analyst.

Tim Cook said in Apple’s release that “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”.

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.

What I don’t quite get is this: how can the company be “sold out of our initial supply” of iPhones and at the same time be “regularly stocking stores”?

Can anyone help me out with that?

  • No, that’s what I expected.

  • Yea especially when as soon as preorders hit 3-4 weeks a lot of people decided to wait for them to be more in stock before ordering

  • No way 🙂

  • Because they are still building them w/ the supply they still do have. Once they run out of that, that’s when they won’t be stocking stores. Plus they probably have a ton already built, but not shipped yet.

  • It’s all marketing gimmick from apple….they cook up figures…extend delivery time artificially to show that the interest in product is zooming but deliver much before as they have the supply….No doubt Apple is a wonderful company….but i like their marketing gimmicks more than than product itsel…though i love iphones as well….

    • Mysteroy3k

      So that means other companies suck at their marketing gimmicks compared to apple

    • CollegiateLad

      They fake sales numbers and extend delivery times? lol… Ok

  • Hyr3m

    No, for the sake of human intelligence I was hoping for less than that but I’m not surprised that there’s still that much morons on earth…

    • “That much morons” or that MANY morons?

      • Hyr3m

        Indeed, that *many morons. Gee, I’m so sad everyone will know I’m not a native english speaker! I guess that means they’re not all morons after all ? No, wait… they’re still morons regardless of my mistake! Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles!

    • PokeHerOne

      Including yourself we assume: “…there are* still that many* morons on earth…..”

  • CollegiateLad

    The analyst have the 5 million number wrong. They assumed those numbers included all iPhone 5 preordered. But Apple must have the signature of acceptance by a customer before the device can be counted as a sell. The 5 million number excludes all the iPhones in transit. It’s likely closer to 7 to 8 million. After 5 years, analyst still don’t have a clue about how Apple works. But to be fair, they tech sites covering Apple are just as clueless.

    Good numbers if you ask me.

  • i’m gonna wait until june or later in 2013 for all the bugs, and updates to take place maybe not too much longer after that the next version of the phone will be released and might just get that one instead, not in a big rush even with the hardware / software improvements not a definite need to go out and get one, yes it would be nice but not right now

    • getaklu

      no. one. cares.

  • Guest

    I preordered mine got an email on the 17th say its been proceeded and sent to shipping from AT&T and I call about it today only to be told they are in back order and have no idea when they will get them. Sure I want a 5 but I’m not waiting 2 months for one.

  • Sparky066

    I preordered mine got an email on the 17th saying its been processed and sent to shipping from AT&T and I call about it today only to be told they are in back order and have no idea when they will get them. Sure I want a 5 but I’m not waiting 2 months for one.

  • Yujin

    The way it works is that ANALyst pump up the stock, then when it “disappoints” they profit again…this should be illegal as many amateur investors get burned…they are just playing with the stock in masses, selling and buying and them making billions in profits.

  • MagicDrumSticks

    The average person isn’t that intelligent so it doesn’t surprise me that it sold this much.

  • Whos_Jeff

    Honestly I think the iPhone 5 ain’t all of that. I’m an iPhone 4 owner. Theirs nothing wow about it. But anything that sells 5 million in the first weekend is a success to me. That’s just my unbias opinion

    • I also thought so, proud owner of iPhone 4 btw, but it´s like someone said, not everyone will appreciate the details that Apple did with the iPhone 5 :/ I mean they did massive things to it, though as consumers, we dont “see a difference”. If we were all Industry Design Engineers, We would with the help of the device, study it and find a stunning breakthrough. The changes were in fact made and that concentration level for every detail is more than expected. They try to define us, what they think a true smartphone is! And I think, Apple does it very good cause otherwise, it wouldnt be a famous phone. Not everything is Marketing, sometimes it´s just what you´ve searched for your whole life and suddenly, it´s available. 🙂

  • Can I have the one that fell on the floor in the picture? Might be damaged ;D