Sep 17, 2012 12:37 PM EDT

Apple Says iPhone 5 Sets Sales Records With 2 Million On First Day

Apple today announced that it had sold two million iPhone 5 smartphones in the first 24 hours of pre-orders last week, more than double the previous record set in 2011.

That's more than double the previous record set by the iPhone 4S, which garnered one million pre-orders on the first day, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said. At this point, demand for the iPhone 5 exceeds supply, and while the majority of pre-orders will be delivered to customers on the official release date of Sept. 21, many are scheduled to be delivered in October.

U.S. mobile carrier AT&T also said its sales broke earlier records.

AT&T claimed the iPhone 5 had broken previous iPhone sales records, saying the new model was "the fastest-selling iPhone the company has ever offered." The carrier did not cite numbers, however.

Philip Schiller, the head of Apple's marketing, said in a statement "iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S."

Analysts were expecting Apple to again reference opening weekend sales, and had forecast numbers as high as 10 million.

Nonetheless, Brian White, a financial analyst with Topeka Capital Markets, noted the strong iPhone 5 sales.

"The iPhone 5 pre-order volume [for the first day] handily beat our estimate of 1.3 million to 1.5 million," said White in a note today to clients. "Clearly, the iPhone 5 is off to a very strong start."

Apple took iPhone 5 pre-orders in nine countries -- including the U.S., Canada, France, Japan and the U.K. -- and will kick off in-store sales in those markets, two more than in 2011, on Friday, Sept. 21. The following Friday, Sept. 28, Apple plans to launch iPhone 5 in another 22 countries, all but one -- New Zealand -- in Europe.

Shipping delays for the iPhone 5 now stand at two to three weeks on Apple's e-store and at AT&T's website, while Verizon says it will deliver new orders by Oct. 5, or in about three weeks. Sprint's delay is currently at "up to two weeks."

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