Apple Inc. is poised to sell as many as 4 million units of its new iPhone 4S this weekend after customers around the world lined up to buy one of the last products developed under Steve Jobs.
The device, available Friday in the US and other countries, is projected to outperform iPhone 4, which topped 1.7 million units in its first weekend.
For the iPhone 4S, most estimates range from 2 to 3 million and Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe predicts sales as high as 4 million.
In New York, London, Tokyo and Frankfurt, hundreds of people lined up overnight at the company's stores. At London's Covent Garden store, 20 Apple employees formed a human tunnel for shoppers entering the store, chanting and doling out high fives. The line outside New York's iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue snaked back and forth across the plaza out front and stretched half way down the block.
“I’m a diehard Apple fan and I’ve been using Apple products since I was 12,” said Cary Santos, 24, who lined up at the Fifth Avenue store at 11 pm Thursday and spent the night checking e-mail and news on his iPad 2. “This company has rocked American life.”
Ousphea San, a 28-year-old warehouse manager, left his home in the Bronx at 3:30 am and found 257 people ahead of him in line when he arrived at the Fifth Avenue store two hours later.
The release represents the end of Apple’s era under Jobs, who died this month. The iPhone 4S has received mostly positive reviews for its voice- recognition software, speedier processor and improved camera. The device also provides Apple with fresh ammunition in its fight against Android.
“It’s going to easily outpace any previous launch,” said Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York. It helps that the iPhone is available on the three largest US carriers for the first time, which will bring in new buyers, he said. The iPhone 4S will go on sale later this month in 22 additional countries. The iPhone, first introduced in 2007, has become Apple’s top moneymaker, accounting for almost half its total revenue.
Few companies can build excitement around a new product the way Apple can, Howe said.
In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post