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UPDATE Sept 18: Apple said this morning it had taken a record two million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 in 24 hours.
The news mitigated fears the new handset lacked a "wow" factor, and sent Apple's shares [NAS:AAPL] to yet another all time high of $US699.78, valuing the company at $US656 billion.
Apple shares rocket to new all-time high as iPhone 5 pre-orders open, stock drained within an hour
UPDATE Sept 15: Apple shares [NAS:AAPL] rose for the second day in a row since the iPhone 5's unveiling. The stock closed up 1.22% to $US691.28 - yet another all-time high for the company, whose market cap is now $US648 billion ($NZ768 billion).
At midnight last night, Apple started taking online pre-orders for the iPhone in a number of countries, including the US, UK and Australia.
Orders will ship on September 21.
Apple's initial stock was drained within an our and the company moved the ship time from two days to two weeks.
The iPhone 5 will launch in NZ on September 28, implying online orders will open September 21 (Apple won't comment).
Across the Tasman, Optus' cheapest plan costs $US48 ($NZ61) a month, $US30 for the plan, and $US18 for the 16GB handset including 200MB of data.
Telstra's cheapest plan costs $A67 a month with 1GB of and its most expensive $A130 with 4GB of data.
Vodafone Australia will charge $US6 for the 16GB handset on a $A60 monthly plan and 1GB data.
New Zealand carriers have yet to reveal their contract pricing. See Apple's NZ pricing here.
The day after: investors' verdict on iPhone 5
Sept 14: The market has given the new iPhone the thumbs up.
Apple shares [NAS:AAPL] rose robust 1.97% today to $US682.98 - just a shade below their all-time high of $US683.29.
Today's close puts Apple's at $US640 billion - comfortably retaining its position as the most valuable company in the world right now (if still some way off the inflation-adjusted $US850 billion hit by Microsoft at the height of the dotcom boom).
With few surprises, many critics thought the new, taller and thinner iPhone 5 lacked a wow factor.
In terms of the iPhone 5's sales potential, their views should be taken with a grain of salt, or perhaps ignored altogether.
When the iPhone 4S was first unveiled onstage, reviewers sniffed it was nothing more than a lookalike, incremental upgrade to the iPhone 4.
Yet the handset went on to sell a staggering 4 million over its first weekend, and fueled a record quarter that saw 37 million iPhones sold.
The iPhone 5 has the advantage of "badging" or show-off appeal; it will be immediately obvious that owners have the taller new model.
And while the new connector may have called grizzles, people spending $29 to $59 a piece to connect to hundreds of millions of speaker docks and other accessories will have a pleasing affect on Apple's coffers.
IF ONLY YOU COULD BET ON YESTERDAY'S HORSE RACE: If you want to fill your Friday fantasizing, then imagine buying Apple's shares 10 years ago today when they stood at $US7.08. (Source: S&P Capital IQ; click to zoom.)