It's not the new and improved features of theiPhone 5 that got the most attention from Wall Street analysts Wednesday, but rather the mass global rollout of the new device and the speed of that availability around the world.
By the end of the year, the phone will be available in 100 countries through 240 carriers, according to analysts. And there’s hope for an official China launch soon as well. (Read more: iPhone 5 Reactions: The Buzz on Twitter)
“In particular, the velocity at which Apple will distribute the product globally was a positive surprise to us,” said ISI Group’s Brian Marshall, in a note to clients he wrote shortly after leaving the much-anticipated introduction of the product in San Francisco.
Shares of Apple closed on their highs of the day as analyst commentary highlighting the global nature of the phone hit investors’ desks.
“Overall the iPhone 5 announcementwas in-line with previews, though we think the phone is launching at more carriers and sooner than many investors expected,” wrote Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies. “We believe the launch schedule implies that supply constraints are not as bad as some feared.”
Customers can pre-order the phone, which is thinner and longer than its predecessors, as early as this Friday in the U.S., as well as many other countries, the company said in a release. It will be available in stores on Sept. 21. More availability in more countries will follow in coming months.
TheiPhone 5 is “the largest consumer product launch in history,” said Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. “We are raising our September iPhone estimates from 22 million to 27.2 million units given the confirmation of the iPhone 5 launch on September 21.”
The most impressive new feature of the phone — and one which also adds to its appeal and compatibility globally — is likely its support for the faster LTE wireless protocol.
Some analysts speculated the speed at which Apple is trotting around the globe with this phone means the Holy Grail of phone markets is coming soon: China.
“What we especially like about this year's launch set-up is that we see post-iPhone 5 event catalysts on the horizon, including our expectation of an ‘iPad Mini’ over the next several weeks and the possibility of an updated iPad, along with a China Mobilerelationship in 1H:2013,” wrote Topeka’s Brian White.
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