A record number of people waited (and waited) for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Friday at Apple's (AAPL) flagship Fifth Avenue location, suggesting that sales are off to a better-than-forecast start, according to a note from Piper Jaffray.
As of 8 a.m. ET, 1,880 people were in line for the launch, a 33 percent increase from the wait for the iPhone 5S and 5C and more than 240 percent higher than the wait for the iPhone 5. Some had lined up for days.
"It was a lot better than what we would have thought," senior Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a phone interview. "We kind of came in with some measured expectations because a year ago the lines were inflated because they didn't do preorders."
He cautioned about the implications of the better-than-expected numbers, saying: "It's an early way to get a pulse. We don't wait to overemphasize it."
Munster expects Apple to sell out of units this weekend.
"We think by tomorrow it's going to be hard to get an iPhone," he said. "We think by Sunday there will be sporadic supply of it."
Using a baseball analogy, Munster compared sales forecasts for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to those of the iPhone 5S last year.
"The 5S was a single," Munster said. "This is going to be a home run, order of magnitudes better demand for the 6 and 6 Plus."