A record two million orders were placed in one day yesterday for Apple's new smartphone, the iPhone 5.
Most will be delivered to stores later this week but the US technology giant admitted that, because of the high demand, some customers will not receive their new handsets until next month.
Apple said demand for the iPhone 5 was more than twice that for its previous model, the iPhone 4S, which received one million pre-orders.
The news pushed Apple's share price to a new high of almost $700 on the New York Stock Exchange in morning trading yesterday. Globally , some analysts expect the company to dispatch as many as 10 million iPhone 5s by the end of this month, and 50 to 60 million by the end of the year.
Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, said: "[Our] iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S – the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal." The company's main rival in the smartphones market, Samsung, tried to fight back against Apple's successful launch with a newspaper advertising campaign in the US.
It compared the features of its own Galaxy SIII handset with Apple's latest model, pointing out that the iPhone 5 has a smaller screen, lower screen resolution, less memory and a shorter battery life.
However, Apple customers seemed willing to pay up-front for a handset that is thinner and lighter than its previous incarnation, has a larger screen and offers compatibilty with fourth-generation (4G) mobile networks.
Customers in the UK will pay up to £699 for an unlocked version of the most powerful iPhone 5, with 64GB of memory, and no contract. The same model is selling for $399 in the US.
It is the first iPhone to be unveiled since the death of Apple's design guru Steve Jobs, who died the day after the iPhone 4 was launched last year.