iPhone 5 'worst case' launch? 6M sold, analyst says

Just how many iPhones will Apple sell this weekend? One analyst says 6 million would be a worst-case scenario.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read
San Francisco Apple Store line-goers in the early morning on the iPhone 4S launch day last October.
San Francisco Apple Store line-goers in the early morning on the iPhone 4S launch day last October. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

With the iPhone 5's launch this Friday, it's that time of the year when it comes to guessing just how many iPhones Apple will sell.

The latest estimate comes from Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, who in a note to investors today says that at best Apple will move 8 million to 10 million iPhones, and at worst, 6 million.

"While we continue to believe an 8 million launch weekend figure is achievable, we believe that the 2 million preorders suggest that the worst case weekend sales figure is likely to be 6 million," Munster wrote.

To put that in perspective, Apple sold 270,000 of its original iPhones in the device's first 30 hours on sale back in 2007. Last year it took a weekend to move 4 million.

Apple this morning said it had sold 2 million iPhone 5s in the device's first 24 hours of presales online. That was twice as many preorders as the iPhone 4S got last year. Both of those online events were mired withsome initial technical difficulties, making the end tallies even more impressive.

Cutting through some of the 4S preorder math from last year, and the preorders for the 5 last week, Munster believes Apple sold about 3 million iPhone 4S devices at retail during its launch weekend leading up to the 4 million (including preorders) the company reported as its first weekend sales.

"Given the 2 million preorders for iPhone 5, it would require roughly 4 million sales at retail, or 33 percent year-over-year growth," Munster said. "We believe the 33 percent year-over-year growth hurdle should be well within reason for Apple on the iPhone 5 launch, thus 6 million launch weekend units should be worst case."

The iPhone 5 goes on sale this Friday at 8 a.m. local time at Apple's retail stores and retail partners. Some of those who preordered it last week have already gotten shipping notices, though like in years past, deliveries are expected to be held until the device's street date.

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