Apple shares touched a record high on Friday thanks to what one analyst called "iPhone 5 fever", despite the company pushing back the release of the new smartphone after overwhelming demand.
In Australia pre-orders sold out on Friday night one hour after the new smartphone became available, while carrier Telstra also said its first batch of pre-orders was sold.
The overwhelming demand forced Apple to push back its shipment date a week, from September 21 to September 28.
"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 rose 1.64 percent to $US694.19 in late afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. The shares earlier touched an all-time high of $US696.98.
The move brings Apple closer to analysts' predictions of a share price higher than $US1000 ($A962) per share in just two years.
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.
Apple did not return calls seeking comment.
Copyright Reuters. Click for restrictions.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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