Despite not being available in China, sales of new larger devices set record!
Apple says it sold more than 10m of its new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models in the three days after they went on sale on Friday, setting a new record despite the phones not being available in China.
The figure, which includes sales to operators as well to consumers – some of whom queued for days outside the company’s stores around the world – exceeds last year’s, when 9m of the iPhone 5S and 5C were sold, and 2012, when sales were 5m.
However in 2012 and 2013 the first weekend sales were boosted by sales in China, which has the largest number of iPhone users in the world, according to analysts. The government there has not yet approved the new models for sale.
Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said: “Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn’t be happier,” and added that “sell-through” – where phones are bought by end customers, rather than by mobile networks – had shattered previous figures “by a large margin”. Apple would be able to measure sell-through based on phone activations, which require the device to contact its servers during setup.
Apple announced the new phones, which have 4.7in and 5.5in screens that finally catch up to the physically larger screen sizes used by many other handset manufacturers, on 12 September, and they went on sale on Friday.
Analysts expect the new devices to presage a record quarter of sales between October and December – though that may hinge on whether the new iPhones get approval for sale in China.
The number of iPhones bought in the first three days after new models go on sale has ramped up over the years as Apple’s user base has increased, giving it a growing number of customers looking to upgrade, and the number of mobile carriers that it works with has grown. This year it was released simultaneously in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Singapore. From 26 September Apple will extend that to another 20 countries, and it will be on sale in 115 countries by the end of the year.
A question mark still hangs over availability in China, however, which may have driven some of the first-weekend sales. The government there has not yet approved the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for sale, although previous generations of Apple’s products have sold strongly there. No reason has been given – though there is speculation that the delay is to give local rivals a better chance to win sales, or that the authorities may be concerned that Apple has made the phones more difficult to tap by increasing security.
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