The company’s marketing spiel for the new devices claimed that “The only thing that’s changed is everything,” and Apple fans evidently turned out in droves across the globe to snap up the smartphones, which come in come in silver, gold, space gray and new “rose gold” finish.
Two weeks ago, Apple had said pre-order data indicated the iPhone 6s models were on pace to top last year’s 10 million record for the iPhone 6 launch. Some analysts had speculated that might mean 6s sales would be flat compared with a year ago, but the company’s latest smartphones again beat expectations.
Analyst reactions were mixed on Apple’s 13 million figure. That total included sales in China, Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri noted, whereas the iPhone 6 did not go on sale in the world’s most-populous country the opening weekend last year. In a research note, Arcuri said “the bias still appears to the downside for iPhone units” through the end of 2015.
But even excluding China, iPhone 6s sales were up 5%-10%, according to FBR Capital Markets’ Daniel Ives, who estimated Chinese consumers bought between 2 million and 2.5 million of the newest models over the past weekend. “(W)e believe potential upside to iPhone December numbers should help remove the ‘China iPhone black cloud’ hovering over Apple’s head despite lingering bear chatter,” Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Both iPhone 6s models include a new “3D Touch” feature, which lets users “peek” at items like an email message using fingertip pressure, and a 12-megapixel camera capable of capturing 4K Ultra HD video.
One feature Apple didn’t change was screen size. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus have the same 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays, respectively, as the prior-generation iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The iPhone 6s starts at $199 and the Plus size starts at $299 (with a two-year wireless contract). Apple also has a new monthly payment program for customers who want a trade-in option on future models for monthly pricing starting at $32 and $37 respectively.
The company said iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be available in more than 40 additional countries beginning Oct. 9 including Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Taiwan. The new iPhones will be available in over 130 countries by the end of the year.
Apple said that sales completed by Saturday, Sept. 26, will be included in the company’s 2015 fourth fiscal quarter results, while sales completed on Sunday, Sept. 27, will be attributed to fiscal Q1 2016 results. The initial markets where the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus went on sale were the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K.
The tech giant has become heavily reliant on the iPhone: Sales of the smartphones account for two-thirds of Apple revenue.