NEW YORK - Apple Inc. said Monday that it sold more than 5 million units of the iPhone 5 in the three days since its launch, fewer than analysts had expected.
Apple shares fell by $9.30, or 1.3 percent, to close at $690.79 on Monday. The shares hit an all-time high of $705.07 on Friday as the phone went on sale in the United States, Germany, France, Japan and five other countries.
The sales tally is a record for any phone, but it beats last year's iPhone 4S launch only by a small margin. Apple said then that it sold 4 million phones in the first three days.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White expected Apple to sell 6 million to 6.5 million iPhone 5s in the first three days. He said the shortfall was largely due to limited supply. White said the phone was sold out at 80 to 85 percent of Apple's U.S. stores that he and his team contacted Sunday. The ones that were still available, he said, were mostly Sprint models.
Online delivery times have stretched to three to four weeks. The phone will go on sale in 22 more countries Friday and in more than 100 countries by the end of the year.
The shortfall between iPhones actually sold and the tally predicted by analysts may not be vast, since Apple doesn't report orders that were received over the Internet until they are delivered, Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group, wrote in a note to clients. Apple's figure includes sales from wireless carriers, retail outlets, Apple stores and online orders that customers have received, he said.
"Units in transit could be in the millions currently," Marshall said. He had anticipated sales of 6 million to 8 million units, based on his understanding of which orders Apple would count as sales.