The new iPhone is expected to attract hordes of buyers when it goes on sale on Friday in more than 20 countries, helping Apple handily beat its target to sell 10 million of them by the end of 2008.
The much-anticipated smartphone has faster Web links than the first iPhone, supports third-party software like games, and is being heavily subsidized by many phone carriers, with some even giving it away to attract new subscribers.
Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell said Apple may sell more than a million new iPhones in the first weekend, partly because it is selling in so many more countries than the first one, which was only available in six.
Some 270,000 people bought the first iPhone in the few days after its launch in late June 2007, after many U.S. customers had lined up for days outside its stores. AT&T, the sole U.S. carrier, will shoulder much of the cost for the latest phone to halve the price.
"They’re going to bring users in droves to this product," Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said. He sees Apple burying its own 10 million sales target by selling about 10.5 million of the new high-speed iPhones this year, having already sold more than 6 million of the first one to date.
Whitmore said price and distribution were two key reasons why the new device, which plays music and supports corporate e-mails, would outsell its predecessor.