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Jul 2, 2007

NEWS: iPhone sales said to hit half-million

New Apple device lives up to the hype, though some buyers have activation woes; availability mixed at Apple Stores heading into new week.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Opening weekend sales of iPhones may have reached 500,000, according to an analyst's estimate, as Apple's much anticipated product saw sales that lived up to and even exceeded its hype.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster released a report Sunday night estimating that the iPhone sales would reach that mark through the close of business Sunday. He had previously forecast first weekend sales of 200,000 of the device, which sells for either $499 or $599.

"Overall, Apple met strong demand over the weekend with adequate supply," he wrote in the report. "We were surprised by the rate at which Apple was able to sell the handsets, with 50 cashiers processing up to 1,000 iPhones an hour in some stores."

Apple (ChartsFortune 500) was not immediately available to comment on that estimate early Monday. It has set a goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, and analysts are generally looking for it to sell about 3 million units this year. The phones went on sale at 6 p.m. Friday, with long lines outside many Apple Stores...

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