Apple is Having the Best iPhone Launch Ever

Demand for the new iPhone 5 has already set a sales record and surpassed Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) initial supply, the company said. More than 2 million phones were purchased in the first 24 hours after Apple began taking pre-orders at midnight on September 14, double that of Apple’s second-most successful launch — the iPhone 4S, which was released in October 2011.

Don’t Miss: Is Apple Still King?

Some customers who pre-ordered the device, which is meant to ship and go on sale in stores on September 21, may now have to wait until October to get their hands on the new device. AT&T (NYSE:T), the first and only carrier to offer the iPhone when it made its debut in 2007, says the iPhone 5 is the fastest-selling iPhone it’s ever offered.

The iPhone 5 will be released this Friday in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the U.K. Some customers who pre-ordered the device from Apple will have to wait until October, but those desperate to get their hands on the iPhone 5 on day one can purchase it in-store. Apple will have phones in stock for customers who line up at its 356 retail stores in the U.S. starting at 8 a.m. on September 21.

AT&T said on Monday it still had phones available for pre-order. Sprint (NYSE:S) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) also carry the phone in the U.S., and like AT&T, will continue to take pre-orders online as well. All three carriers will also have the phone in stock at stores around the country on Friday. Some Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), RadioShack, Target (NYSE:TGT), and Walmart (NYSE:WMT) stores will also have the iPhone 5 in stock this week.

Analysts believe the new iPhone will help Apple increase its smartphone market share, as it gains customers from other platforms like Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry and Google Android devices. Apple shares rose to just shy of a record $700 on Monday, closing at $699.78 in regular Nasdaq trading. Analysts also say pent-up demand was likely driving record sales, as Apple enthusiasts began holding out on iPhone purchases at the beginning of the year in anticipation of this release.

Apple will begin selling the iPhone 5 in an additional 22 countries on September 28, at which point the company will have hopefully resolved some of its supply constraints. Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, said the goal is to offer the phone in 100 countries by year’s end.

Apple has been a huge winning stock pick for Wall St. Cheat Sheet Newsletter subscribers. Don’t waste another minute — click here and get more of our CHEAT SHEET stock picks now.