New iPhone 5 breaks Apple sales record

APPLE’S iPhone 5 broke sales records over its debut weekend, although it still failed to meet Wall Street’s expectations, sending shares in the world’s richest company down while arch rival Google hit an all-time high.

The latest version of Apple’s most profitable product saw sales of more than 5m from Friday to Sunday, beating the 4m iPhone 4S units sold over the same period last year and making it the fastest selling device in history. However, shares in the company fell from last week’s record highs, with investors disappointed at the sales, sending Apple down 1.3 per cent and knocking £8.7bn off the company’s value.

“[The 5m sale] compared to our 8m estimate,” said Gene Munster at investment bank Piper Jaffray, noting that a short supply of iPhones had hit sales, rather than lower consumer demand. Apple stores in the US and UK ran out of stock over the weekend, as excitement over the phone beat the firm’s forecasts.

Chief executive Tim Cook said: “Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one.”

As Apple’s share price fell yesterday, Google hit a new record price, passing levels not seen for five years, as investors backed its reliable search advertising business at the expense of Facebook.

Google rose to a high of $749.99, overtaking November 2007’s $747.24 peak, while Facebook dropped more than nine per cent, reversing an upward trend in the social network’s fortunes after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg hinted at new growth areas two weeks ago.

Facebook’s image took another hit yesterday as reports emerged that private messages on the site were being displayed on public profiles. The firm swiftly moved to refute the claims, saying the messages had always been public, but were being displayed differently.

But the timing could not have been worse for Facebook, after influential US financial magazine Barron’s claimed it remained overpriced on Saturday despite the share price falling by half since May’s flotation.

Questions about Facebook’s potential for growth have repeatedly been raised in recent months, with the firm’s efforts to improve advertising on its mobile platform failing to impress investors, while Google’s adverts on mobile searches remain lucrative.

Shares in Yahoo, the embattled web company that recently appointed former Google executive Marissa Mayer as chief executive, were also boosted yesterday as she prepared to unveil her turnaround plan today. Mayer is expected to renew efforts to improve Yahoo’s own search and advertising platforms.