Analyst predicts 10 million sales over the iPhone 5 opening weekend

The iPhone 5 goes on sale this Friday in the United States and eight more major markets overseas, hitting an additional 22 countries next Friday. So far, customer response completely blew Apple away as the handset became AT&T‘s and Apple‘s fastest-selling iPhone.

With a little more than four days until launch, Piper Jaffray’s resident Apple analyst Gene Munster issued a note to clients, predicting sales of at least six million units during the opening weekend, possibly up to ten million units.

Munster previously said the iPhone 5 would go down in history as the most successful consumer electronics launch and compared other smartphones to Timexes, with the iPhone 5 being the Rolex of smartphones…

Business Insider relays Munster’s note to clients:

He thinks Apple announces 8 million iPhone 5s sold on the opening weekend, which would be double what it announced last year for the iPhone 4S. He calls 6 million sold a “worst case scenario.”

So much about the “boring” iPhone 5.

In comparison, the iPhone 4S sold four million units in its first three days of availability and the iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million units during its opening weekend.

Sales of any current-generation iPhone model typically doubles that of all previous models combined, per court documents in the Apple v. Samsung monster trial.

Canaccord Genuity’s T. Michael Walkley says (via AppleInsider) believes, based on “checks with Apple’s three U.S. carrier”, that the company could ship between nine million and ten million iPhone 5 units by the end of the September quarter.

Given the much stronger than expected iPhone 5 pre-orders sales, we expect a meaningful jump in the three-day sales results for the iPhone 5 compared to the over 4 million iPhone 4S weekend sales last year.

An Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um thinks Apple will face supply constraints of the iPhone 5 at launch. Apple hinted as much, writing in a media release that “demand for iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on September 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October”.

And here’s your high tolerance manufacturing porn, courtesy of Apple’s Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield, via Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, who amusingly notes that “no one can make an assembly line sound as sexy as Sir Jony”.

Hungry for more?

I also wrote a more detailed overview of how Apple made the Rolex of smartphones.

Do you think ten million iPhone 5 units is achievable over this weekend?