The company has to sell more than 5M iPhones globally to beat the first-weekend record it set last year when it introduced the iPhone 5. And Apple watchers are optimistic that will happen, with estimates ranging from 6M to close to 8M, after seeing the long lines of customers in major markets eager to lay their hands on the latest models: the iPhone 5C and 5S. A 7M-to-8M result appears “doable”, Cowen and Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri says — largely because the new iPhones are available to a broader array of consumers. Unlike last year, people served by T-Mobile and Japan’s DoCoMo can buy the new iPhones on the opening weekend. There’s also China, where customers had to wait 90 days for the iPhone 5 outside of the gray market. Initial sales likely will favor the lower-priced iPhone 5C, the analyst says, estimating that the there are about twice as many units of that model available vs the top-of-the-line (and more expensive) 5S. Apple likely will change the mix in December to favor the 5S leading to combined sales of about 50M. “Our call continues to be that units will be okay but not great” with higher profit margins, Arcuri says. If he’s right, then Apple’s stock price “will continue to move higher through year-end”. Shares closed Friday at $467.41, down 33.2% over the last 12 months. Investors fear that Apple won’t be able to come up with a new blockbuster product — and worry about the iPhone’s declining market share against a broad array of phones powered by Google’s Android system. Many hoped that the iPhone 5C — which costs about $549 in the U.S. without a phone company subsidy — would cost closer to $400 to appeal to a broader audience. But Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg BusinessWeek last week that his company’s “not in the junk business.”
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