“When Apple Inc. releases its iPhone 5 for sale at retail stores Friday, the company will be looking to upgrade its already large base of existing customers, as well as convert others using rival devices,” Dan Gallagher reports for MarketWatch.

“Most of the initial rollout is expected to involve the former, with faithful Apple customers queuing at the company’s retail stores for a chance to get the latest version of the popular smartphone — after the iPhone 5’s pre-order run sold out on the Apple website in 24 hours,” Gallagher reports. “But to meet Wall Street’s high expectations for the device, Apple also will need to keep bringing in customers who are new to the smartphone market — as well as entice others who are using competitors’ products, including Samsung, Motorola and BlackBerry devices… ‘I think you’ll see a lot of people switching from BlackBerry and some switching from Android,’ predicted Carolina Milanesi of market-research firm Gartner, speaking of the Google’s mobile operating system featured on most Samsung smartphones.”

Gallagher reports, “In the meantime, many analysts expect Apple to sell 10 million iPhone 5 units or more in the first two weeks after the launch, ending the company’s fourth fiscal quarter. Total iPhone shipments for the December period are expected to be somewhere in the 45 million to 50 million range, based on current published estimates… ‘The main driver of iPhone sales momentum into mid-2013 could be China, where Apple needs to strike a deal with China Mobile for the first time,’ Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital said.”

Read more in the full article here.

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