* Apple Website shows iPhone 5 available to ship in 2 weeks
* Wait times for iPhone 5 range from 2-3 weeks
* Sell-out may indicate supply constraint -- analyst
By Poornima Gupta and Sayantani Ghosh
Sept 14 Apple Inc shares jumped on
Friday, touching a record high on what one analyst called
"iPhone 5 fever" as the company said some customers must wait
two to three weeks for the new, slimmer, faster smartphone that
accounts for half its revenue.
Apple's U.S. store, at www.apple.com, was projecting
shipments for the iPhone 5 would take two weeks to fulfill, with
analysts saying the date slipped within an hour of the start of
The company's website showed buyers in United Kingdom,
France and Germany would have to wait as much as three weeks to
receive orders when the iPhone 5 starts shipping next Friday,
the first day of deliveries.
AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and
Sprint Nextel Corp -- the three US carriers who will sell
the iPhone 5 -- showed delays ranging from a week to a month by
"Pre-orders for iPhone 5 have been incredible," Apple
spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said. "We've been completely blown
away by the customer response."
Apple did not give any further details on the demand. A
Verizon spokeswoman said the company has seen "significant
volumes" since it started accept pre-orders. AT&T and Sprint did
not return messages for comment.
The new model would also be available in Apple's stores next
Friday for walk-in purchase. Retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc
and Best Buy Co are also taking preorders.
"Clearly, iPhone 5 fever is in full swing," Topeka Capital
Markets analyst Brian White said.
"When you do a pre-order, the last thing you want to do is
upset customers, so obviously they are overwhelmed with the
demand. No one wants to sell out in an hour."
Apple shares closed up 1.2 percent at $691.28 on the Nasdaq.
The shares earlier touched an all-time high of $696.98.
Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5 at midnight
Pacific Time (0700 GMT) on Friday, with shipments set to begin
on Sept 21. The smartphone is being rolled out in phases and
will be sold in 100 countries by the end of the year.
The iPhone 5 sports a 4-inch "retina" display, supports the
high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, and is 20 percent lighter
than the previous iPhone 4S.
It is not unusual for Apple products to sell out the first
day. Orders for the previous iPhone 4S, the last product the
company introduced before the death of co-founder Steve Jobs,
surpassed 1 million in the first 24 hours, beating Apple's
previous one-day record of 600,000 sales for the iPhone 4.
Analysts have expressed surprise at how quickly Apple
planned to roll out the new model around the world, saying this
was the fastest rollout of the phone since it launched in 2007.
On average, Wall Street analysts forecast Apple may sell well
over 42 million units this year.
But some analysts said the early sell-out may also point to
a potential supply crunch.
"We believe the fast sell out indicates both high levels of
demand and constrained supply," said Shannon Cross, analyst with
Cross Research, an independent research house.
"However, given that the company announced an aggressive
rollout schedule, we assume management's plan includes a rapid
increase in production," Cross said.
One of Apple's key suppliers for screens, Sharp Corp
, is struggling with high costs and scrambling to raise
funds to pay debt.
Sharp, a Japanese company that is negotiating a deal to sell
a big stake in itself to Taiwan's Hon Hai, also Apple's largest
contract manufacturer, has fallen behind schedule on production
of screens for Apple's latest iPhone, a source had told Reuters
in late August.
The source, who is familiar with Sharp's production
operations, did not say how far behind the output had fallen.