People still willing to wait in line for iPhones
Shares in Apple and key chip suppliers for its new iPhones rose Friday, as the first day of sales at Apple stores drew long lines and an analyst said the first weekend would likely top the initial sales figures of last year's model.
Hundreds of people showed up at Apple stores in cities including Sydney, Tokyo and New York as two iPhone models launched 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 also have questioned whether Apple has priced the plastic-backed 5C too high to combat cheaper smartphones that use Google's Android operating system.
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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, TriQuint Semiconductor and Skyworks Solutions, according to repair firm iFixit, which took apart the iPhone 5S and 5C Thursday. Broadcom's chip is used for the touchscreen controller in both phones, the firm said. All these suppliers also featured in the iPhone 5.
Apple shares rose as much as 1.3 percent as the 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.
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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 U.S., may be too expensive.
But Apple has a history of cutting iPhone prices once the device has been on the market for a while, said Brian Marshall, analyst with International Strategy and Investment Group.
"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, which lets users unlock their devices or make purchases simply by pressing their finger.
The sensor technology that powers the fingerprint scanner in the 5S was developed by AuthenTec, which Apple bought a year ago, iFixit said.
Shares of the tech giant hit $478.55 on the Nasdaq before easing back to $475.18, up 0.6 percent. Avago shares went to $42.58 before easing back to $42.13. TriQuint shares rose to as high as $8.22 and Skyworks to $26.00.