AT&T says iPhone 5 sets new sales record

AT&T says the new iPhone 5 has set a new record, becoming the fastest-selling iPhone that the company has ever offered.

“Customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T than any previous model both on its first day of preorders and over the weekend,” it says – although the company isn’t giving numbers.

The phone became available for pre-order on Friday, but demand quickly outstripped supply, with Apple itself warning of a two-week delay just an hour later. That’s now slipped again to three weeks.

AT&T has more iPhone customers than any other US carrier. It had a glitch or two on the supply side itself on Friday, but now says that the phones are available both for pre-order and at its stores from 8.00 am local time this Friday.

Many analysts are predicting that Apple could sell as many as 10 million iPhone 5s this month alone – and five times as many by the end of the year. But not all are quite so confident.

“Reported revenues from iPhone sales hit astonishing new heights in Q4 2011, so there is evidence to suggest that consumers might just keep buying regardless,” says Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Jamie Moss.

“Consumers may come to the conclusion that, not only is their prospective new mobile phone very similar to their last, it’s very similar to their last several – and as a result they may decide to leave that latest offering on the shelf.”

The view from the street, though, looks a little different. Lines have already started forming, days before launch, outside Apple’s 5th Avenue store in New York.

Right now, the phones are apparently on container ships making their way from China, and due to arrive just in time.