Apple announced that first weekend sales of the iPhone 5 were 5 million, roughly a million more than the iPhone 4S managed. This set a three day record for the company, even as demand outstripped supply and sales fell below the hopes of some analysts.

“The number is lower than what people had expected,” said Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets, who had estimated debut weekend sales of 6 million to 6.5 million units. “This seems to be driven more by availability than demand.”

“The story now with Apple is less about the gorgeous technology and more about if it can really execute the global supply,” said James Kelleher, an analyst at Argus Research. “Can they get them to as many people as they want in the right amount of time “

Some particularly optimistic analysts saw sales between 6 and 8 million and one thought the iPhone 5 might reach 10 million. It is worth noting that the 5 million does not include orders from Apple’s online store that haven’t been delivered.

“Units in transit could be in the millions currently,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group.

“Demand for iPhone 5 has been incredible and we are working hard to get an iPhone 5 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “While we have sold out of our initial supply, stores continue to receive iPhone 5 shipments regularly and customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”

Source: Business Week