Huge iPhone sales set to boost Apple

APPLE shares are in sight of a new record high of $700 this week, after early demand for the new iPhone 5 proved far greater than expected.

Purchases made over the weekend were accompanied by a warning that delivery would take up to three weeks to arrive, after the initial batch of devices sold out in under an hour when preorders opened on Friday. Apple is expected to sell up to 60m iPhone 5s by the end of the year, raking in around $36bn (£22.2bn) in sales and making it the most successful iPhone launch to date.

Apple said it had been "completely blown away" by demand for the iPhone 5, despite lacklustre reviews from critics. The company, now the most valuable in the world, is expected by some to hit a landmark $700 share price later this week, with some ultra-bulls even predicting it could hit $1,000 over the next two years as it launches new products. A "mini" iPad is expected to be released before Christmas.

The company also won a victory over its biggest competitor Samsung, as the US International Trade Commission threw out claims from the South Korean firm that Apple had used Samsung technology. It was the latest blow for Samsung which was ordered to pay $1bn to Apple for copying the iPhone's design in its own products last month.