Just how popular is Apple's iPhone 5? Very. It was the eighth most popular web search on the day of its launch. See also: iPhone 5 review.

Last week, as Apple's latest smartphone went on sale, searches for "iPhone 5" increased 362 percent compared to the previous week, according to internet data analysts at Hitwise. See: iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4S comparison

This past week naturally saw searches dip compared to the previous week but searches remained higher than for the iPhone 4S launch.

Since the iPhone 5 went on sale last Friday, a look back at the search activity shows that the iPhone 5 announcement on September 12 caused US searches on the term "iPhone 5" to rank as the eighth most popular search query on the Internet that day.

Search activity around this announcement was different than in years past as news and "leaks" about the new iPhone 5 have been ongoing for more than a year and a half - well ahead of the 4S launch.

Weekly data shows that the week of the iPhone 4S announcement in October 2011 was the peak of search activity to-date for searches around the iPhone 5.

Three weeks ago when the iPhone 5 announcement date was made, searches spiked what 239 percent for the iPhone 5.

The search terms around the iPhone 4S announcement last autumn included many iPhone 5 searches as the search "iPhone 5" ranked as 22nd most popular search on October 4, 2011 - the day the 4S announced.

The top US sites to receive downstream traffic on the day of the pre-announcement from iPhone 5 searches included Yahoo News, Apple iPhone, and CNET Reviews and News sites.

The Apple iPhone page received the most traffic for last week along with YouTube and AT&T, Facebook and Verizon Wireless.

Looking at just the downstream traffic to mobile carriers - AT&T ranked as the top carrier for last week while Verizon Wireless ranked at the top carrier the day the iPhone 5 went on sale.

See also:

Tim Cook 'did not have to write' Apple's apology, argues analyst
New iPhone 5 cases and accessories
Analyst lowers expectations for Christmas wuarter due to iPhone 5 shortages
Three quick hits, misses for the iPhone 5