Analyst: iPhone 5 Sales Shouldn't Worry Investors

Over 5 million iPhone 5 smartphones were sold during the first three days of availability, which was below financial analyst estimates. Despite the lower than expected number, Apple still beat last year's iPhone 4S launch by a million units, and Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um thinks the company could still report sales through September that please investors.

iPhone 5 sales shouldn't worry investorsiPhone 5 sales shouldn't worry investors

"Apple announced it has sold over 5 million iPhone 5s in the opening weekend, which exceeds the prior record of over 4 million sold when iPhone 4S was launched last October. However, Apple also noted that 'while the majority of pre-orders have been shipped to customers, many are scheduled to be shipped in October,'" Mr. Um said. "We believe this will cause some concern with regard to total iPhone 5 units in the September quarter, which we think expectations reached as high as 10 million units."

That 10 million unit expectation came from Canaccord Genuity's Michael Walkley after pre-order sales numbers came out last week. "Given the record pre-orders, we believe Apple could ship 9 million to 10 million iPhone 5 models by September 29, or the last day of [fiscal 2012], versus our initial 6 million estimate," he said.

Mr. Um thinks that this Friday's second wave of iPhone 4S launches, which includes 20 more countries, will bring a big boost to sales figures. He also thinks Apple may have underestimated total launch weekend sales.

"While it may make sense to assume units below 6 million units sold over the first three days (the interpretation of 'over 5 million' sold), Apple has, in the past, also been conservative in its interpretation," he said.

He added that Apple's announcement that over 100 million devices have already been updated to iOS 6 helps support the notion that its iOS device ecosystem is strong and popular with consumers.

Mr. Um has an "Outperform" rating and target price range between US$470 and $760 for Apple's stock. Apple is currently trading at $690.35, down 9.74 (1.39%).