Shares of Apple, chip suppliers rise as iPhones hit stores
Sept 20 (Reuters) - Shares in Apple Inc and key chip suppliers for its new iPhones rose on Friday, as the first day of sales at Apple stores drew long queues and an analyst said the first weekend would likely top the initial sales figures of last year's model.
Hundreds of people queued up at Apple stores in cities including Sydney, Tokyo and New York as Apple launched two iPhone models simultaneously for the first time.
Analysts have questioned whether the technology of the new top-end 5S is dramatic enough to persuade people to trade up. Many have also questioned whether Apple has priced its new plastic-backed 5C too high to combat cheaper smartphones that use Google's Android operating system.
But that did not put off Jimmy Gunawan, the first in line outside an Apple store in Sydney.
"It's been one year since iPhone 5. It's about time to upgrade I guess," he told Reuters TV.
The new iPhones use chips made by Avago Technologies Ltd , TriQuint Semiconductor Inc and Skyworks Solutions Inc, according to repair firm iFixit, which opened up the iPhone 5S and 5C on Thursday.
Broadcom Corp's chip is used for the touchscreen controller in both phones, iFixit said. All these suppliers also featured in last year's iPhone 5.
Apple shares rose as much as 1.3 percent as the new phones went on sale in 11 markets. Avago shares rose 4.5 percent to a year high, TriQuint rose 2.75 percent and Skyworks edged up 1.4 percent.
Apple could sell up to 6.5 million iPhones during the weekend, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said in a note.
Apple sold over 5 million iPhone 5 units during its opening weekend last year.
Investors are concerned that the iPhone 5C, with a price tag of $549 for an unlocked 16 GB model in the United States, may be too expensive. But Apple has a history of cutting iPhone prices once it has been on the market for a while, International Strategy and Investment Group LLC analyst Brian Marshall said.
"We believe it (Apple) will do the same for 5C after initial pent-up demand is met," Marshall said in a note.
Tech analysts this week praised the fingerprint scanner in the 5S model, which lets users unlock their devices or make purchases by simply pressing their finger.
The sensor technology that powers the fingerprint scanner in the new iPhone 5S was developed by AuthenTec, which was bought by Apple a year ago, iFixit said.
Apple shares hit a high of $478.55 on the Nasdaq before easing back to $475.18, up 0.6 percent. Avago shares hit $42.58 before easing back to $42.13.
TriQuint shares rose to as high as $8.22 and Skyworks to $26.00.