Although Apple hasn’t announced pre-order numbers for its iPhone 5C, one of two new iPhones being launched this upcoming Friday, one analyst believes that the company will likely hit 5 to 6 million combined unit sales this weekend. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple will sell out of all iPhone 5S handsets produced for the launch window, adding to an expected 3 million iPhone 5C sales over the same three-day period. Compared to last year’s iPhone 5 launch weekend, which itself saw record breaking 5 million units sold, the prediction could mean significantly higher numbers contingent on the supply of the iPhone 5S.

Munster’s analysis based his forecast on the iPhone 5 in-store launch sales, which were indicated to have numbered at roughly 3 million. The units combined with 2 million pre-orders helped reach the 5 million units sold last year. Munster reported the following to investors:

Given last year's in-store sales numbers, we are comfortable that Apple could sell 2.5 million iPhone 5S units this launch weekend. Our estimate for the 5C is 3 million units sold during the launch weekend including 1 million online pre-orders and 2 million in stores.
Echoing the recent rumors that mentioned that Apple decided to not have iPhone 5S pre-orders due to low inventory, the analyst believes that stock will indeed be constrained. Some reports described US inventory as being “grotesquely” low, but no solid metrics were offered. The final tally is highly speculative given the lack of insight into the iPhone 5S inventory.

Munster estimates China, which is participating in a worldwide iPhone launch for the first time to take 10% to 15% of unit sales. If Apple doesn’t announced launch weekend sales, which is something that the company has done since the iPhone 3G in 2008, Munster would take it as a sign that sales were below 5 million units. Instead of reading into hard numbers, Munster advises paying attention to demand by observing how fast the iPhone 5S sells out. As a reference, the iPhone 5 was mostly sold out by Saturday last year.

Apple is set to start sales for both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at its retail stores from 8:00 AM local time this Friday.

Source: Piper Jaffray via AppleInsider