Apple is "blown away" by consumer response to the next-generation of its popular smartphone, which sold out for pre-orders in just minutes on Friday, spokeswoman Natalie Kerris says. And when iPhone 5 goes on sale in stores later this week, analysts predict lines as long as the record queues seen for the iPhone's debut in 2007.
"It will be a madhouse," says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Richard Doherty, an independent tech analyst at Envisioneering Group, says the immediate sellout for the pre-order makes for an "awkward" launch for the new phone.
"Apple expected the pre-orders to be a one-day cycle, and they were shocked that it was just one hour. They clearly were caught by surprise by the size of the orders," Doherty says. Had they continued fulfilling online orders, "they might have only had two phones available at stores on Friday."
VIDEO:Ed Baig and Jefferson Graham go hands-on with the iPhone 5 at Apple's launch event