Apple iPhone 5 sales prediction for the weekend set at 8 million

The Apple iPhone 5 is already here and just about every analyst out there is busy trying to predict how it will do in its first weekend of availability. One of them, however, really impressed us with its non-traditional research methods.

Gene Munster and his team at Piper Jaffray based their prognosis on, among other things, the lengths of the lines in front of the Apple stores today. The survey of lines at Apple stores in New York, Boston and Minneapolis showed that crowds are 83% larger than those for the iPhone 4S used to be.

That has lead the analyst company to predict that Apple will sell 8 million iPhone 5 units in the opening weekend, which is just in the middle of its previous 6-10 million forecast. The expected sales for the first full quarter of iPhone 5 availability – the upcoming holiday quarter – should reach 49 million, which should help Apple close the gap to Samsung in the smartphone race.

If Apple sticks to its habits, we’ll all know the exact number on Monday, when a press release will be issued. One things is certain though – the iPhone 5 will set a new record for fastest selling smartphone.

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