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Apple's still got it: New iPhones ring up record sales

Monday, 23 Sep 2013 | 9:24 AM ET
An Apple employee rings up a sale at Apple's flagship 5th Avenue store for the launch of two new iPhones, the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 5c,  in New York.
Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An Apple employee rings up a sale at Apple's flagship 5th Avenue store for the launch of two new iPhones, the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 5c, in New York.

Apple said Monday that sales for its new iPhone had set a record, with consumers snapping up nine million smartphones within the first few days of its launch, prompting the company to hike its revenue guidance.

The tech giant said in a statement that the iPhone 5s and 5c's sales were accompanied by more than 200 million downloads of the iOS 7 platform, Apple's new iteration of its operating software.

As a result, Apple said company revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter would be "near the high end" of its previous guidance of $34-$37 billion. Gross margins would also check in near the top of its prior guidance of 36-37 percent.

(Read more: Apple's device exhaustion?)

Apple crushes estimates, sell 9 million iPhones
The tech giant sold a record nine million new iPhones over the weekend which came as a surprise to some suppliers, reports CNBC's Josh Lipton. And Scott Kessler, Capital IQ, explains why he has a "buy" rating and $590 price target on the stock; while Mike Santoli, Yahoo! Finance, weighs in on how to fairly value the shares.

The numbers defied some of the market's low-ball estimates, and suggest the technology giant still has cachet with consumers as it fends off a stiff challenge from Samsung.

Apple fanatics snapped up the new 5c and 5s models in droves, with lines snaking around Apple's iconic retail stores last week. Some ebullient fans even camped out overnight, in order to be the first to get a hold of the new device.

(Watch: Paid to stand in line)

"The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.

The market's estimates were off for Apple sales because the tech company combined sales of the 5c and 5s models, Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told the "Fast Money Halftime Report."

"The way they announced that number was a little bit different than they typically do. When you back out that channel fill of the 5c, the number was pretty much right in line with about 5.5 million, which is positive because it's up from 5 million a year ago. But you need to kind of put that 9 million into context and I don't think the Street was as off as maybe it looks at first blush," said Munster, who is currently has an 'overweight' rating on the stock with a price target of $640 a share.

Apple's shares, listed on the Nasdaq, rose 3.6 percent in afternoon trading. (What's the stock doing now? Click here)

Shares in Pandora, the online radio service that faces competition from Apple's new iTunes Radio, fell more than 10 percent. (What's the stock doing now? Click here)

Apple spikes 3% on iPhone sales
Apple beat expectations this weekend selling more than 9 million iPhone 5C's and 5S's. Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray analyst, breaks down the Street's underestimated call.

Some professional traders are also bullish on Apple's stock.

To pro traders Stephen Weiss and Jon Najarian, Apple's sales and shares alike could continue to rise should consumer support for rival BlackBerry wane. Weiss thinks the stock could trade to $550 a share, but will likely remain range-bound until the company produces a "truly new," innovative product to the marketplace.

Joe Terranova, chief market strategist at Virtus Investment Partners, an asset management firm with more than $25 billion under management, said it all comes down to the technicals for Apple

If the stock is able to push through resistance of $500 a share, he thinks more investors will start a position in the stock, sending shares even higher.

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.