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Will Apple shift 10m iPhone 5 units in the first week?

Now that invites have been sent out for Apple's 12 September press event, which is expected to include the launch of the next-gen iPhone, one analyst has put a number on how many devices the company could sell — and it's a lot.

Analysts have been predicting that the iPhone 5 could be one of Apple's biggest product launches of all time. But in a note on Tuesday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, estimated that Apple could possibly sell up to 10 million iPhone 5 units in the first week.

While the shipping date for the next-gen phone has not been confirmed, Apple is expected to release it on 21 September, nine days after it's announced.

"We believe that if the 21st is the actual ship date, Apple could sell 6-10 million iPhone 5s in the final week of September barring supply issues," Munster wrote.

Each new iPhone model has logged stronger first weekend unit sales than the last. The iPhone 4S, for example, sold more than 4 million units in its first three days on the market, while the iPhone 4 sold 1.7 million, and the iPhone 3GS sold more than one million.

Munster further estimated that Apple could sell between 26 million and 28 million total iPhones during the September quarter. This is higher than the current Wall Street expectation, which puts iPhone sales between 22 and 23 million units during the period.

As Munster noted, Apple may be able to hit these high sales numbers as long as its supply chain can deliver. Reports have cropped up, however, that Sharp delayed plans to start shipping iPhone screens due to manufacturing difficulties.

Earlier in the week, Apple sent out invites for the rumoured launch event, showing the date of 12 September with the shadow of a "5," suggesting that the iPhone 5 might finally be on the menu. The new iPhone will likely include a larger, 4in screen and 4G LTE connectivity, among other things.