Demand for the phone, introduced a day before Apple co- founder Steve Jobs passed away, is a tribute to the technology icon’s legacy, said William Choi, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.
“It’s the last phone developed with Steve Jobs at Apple,” Choi said in a telephone interview today. “There are definitely some sentiments at play here.”
The rush also signals pent-up demand for the new model, which followed the previous version by 16 months — longer than usual. Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S last week, pricing it at $199, $299 and $399, depending on the features. The device comes with new voice-command features and a higher-resolution camera.
It has an A5 chip that will make graphics seven times faster than the old processor and an “intelligent antenna system” for improved call quality. The phone works with both CDMA and GSM wireless standards, used in different parts of the world, and will have up to 8 hours of talk time on one charge.
The new model will be the first Apple product release since the Oct. 5 death of Jobs. The iPhone represents the company’s biggest source of revenue, accounting for about half of sales.
In Stores Oct. 14
The iPhone 4S will be available at Apple retail stores in the U.S. beginning at 8 a.m. local time on Oct. 14, the Cupertino, California-based company said today in a statement.
For the first time, the device is available from all three of the largest U.S. carriers. AT&T Inc. (T)said Oct. 7 that it received more than 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4S in 12 hours, marking the company’s most successful debut yet for the Apple Inc. device. The other two are Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S)
Adding Sprint as a carrier has helped boost pre-orders, said Jeffrey Fidacaro, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group, in a telephone interview today. So has the timing of the release.
“People are buying the phone to honor Steve Jobs and support the company,” he said. Sprint has an opportunity to add 6 million users a year, he said.
Apple rose 2.7 percent to $379.84 at 9:38 a.m. New York time in U.S. trading. The stock had increased 15 percent this year before today.