Record iPhone debut is not a 'victory lap' yet: Pro
Apple enthusiasts lined up throughout the U.S. and in China for the launch of two new iPhone models, which drew the longest-ever line for an iPhone device—but one pro cautioned that it's not time for an Apple "victory lap" yet.
At 8 a.m., the line at Apple's 5th Avenue flagship store in New York City was 1,417 people long, said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. This is 83 percent longer than for the iPhone 5 at the same time, said Munster, who's kept records of the lines since 2008. He noted that many of the buyers were international buyers.
"So far, it seems to be off to a healthy start, which is somewhat of a surprise given it's the essentially the same hardware," Munster said.
Ahead of the launch, analysts had been subdued about the new models, saying that with the exception of the 5S's new fingerprint scanner, they didn't have the "wow" factor to differentiated them from other phones on the market.
(Read more: Peeling back thelayers of Apple's new iPhone 5S)
"I think near term investors were pretty down on the iPhone launch and lineup," Munster said said. "So far, I think the demand is better than they would have thought, which is positive."
"This is a good start and surprise to analysts who had pretty downbeat expectations," he added. "But the next question is 'Are they going to be able to make enough of them?' and second 'What is the fade going to look like — are things strong for six months or six weeks? We don't know that yet. This is clearly a good start, but you cant take your victory lap yet."
(Read more: Apple iPhone 5C orders 'not overwhelming')
Munster has an "overweight" rating and a $640 price target on the company's shares.
Apple shares inched higher in trade following the iPhone launch. (Click here to track the company's stock.)
For some of the hundreds of people in line, the wait turned out to be lucrative.
"They basically offered a deal. We advertise their company, they pay us $800 each to get whatever phone we want," one young man told CNBC of the many advertisers who've tried to exploit the crowds at the store.
For this debut, Apple only allowed pre-orders of its cheaper 5C model, which feature plastic back and bright colors, but not the 5S model, which includes a fingerprint scanner and and three new colors — gray, silver and the hotly anticipated gold color.
Several customers reported that the popular gold color was already sold out in stores on Friday. Online, the phone will not be available until October.
"Analysts are predicting somewhere between 5 and 8 million phones — I think they're going to have to get on the higher end of that to really satisfy the analysts, and I think they can do that because this is the first time they're launching two phones at the same time and it's really a repositioning of their whole mobile strategy," said Pete Pachal, a tech editor at Mashable.
AllThingsD's Ina Fried cautioned that this launch is a difficult apples-to-apples comparison to the last one.
"You have the two models — also you have tight supply on the 5s so we'll see whether that puts a dent in sales at all," she said.
—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle