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SYDNEY -- Apple today announced that it had sold more than 2 million of the new iPhone 5 in 24 hours. That's more than twice Apple's previous record, set last October, when 1 million iPhone 4S units were sold in one day.
Technology research firm IDC has estimated that Apple will sell 51 million iPhone 5 units in the Christmas quarter, 35% more than the previous corresponding period. That number could be at serious risk of being beaten if sales continue at the current clip.
Shares in Apple hit an all-time high of $700 overnight, extending its lead as the world's largest company. That is nearly double its 52-week low of $354. Shares are up 20% for the quarter, and nearly 75% for the year, nothing out of the ordinary for a company that has seen its share price increase nearly 100 times over since a low of $7.07 in 2003.
Demand for the new iPhone comes despite its lack of "wow" factor -- most of the new features were already known months before the official release, including a bigger screen and a controversial smaller connector. It will run on 4G networks, including Telstra's (ASX: TLS.AX) and Optus' -- the latter owned by Singapore Telecommunications (ASX: SGT.AX). The phone is also taller, thinner and lighter.
Apple's smartphones and tablets have become must-have fashion accessories for legions of Apple fans. Many Australian subscribers to the old iPhone 4 will be coming off plans in the next couple of months, and the majority are expected to upgrade to the newer version.
The most controversial feature of the new phone is the smaller connector, as the company says it was necessary to keep making thinner devices. For a host of businesses, it's mixed news. For example, hotels that bought iPhone-compatible docking devices are now faced with what to do with out-dated products.
Apple accessory manufacturers will be hoping to cash in, with a range of new products to fit the smaller dock. Consumer electronics stores will likely be rubbing their hands with glee, as the accessories market for gadgets, including smartphones and tablets, is huge and still taking off. JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH.AX) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX: HVN.AX) will be hoping the new phone and associated accessories will assist them in turning around struggling sales.
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