Apple has set a record with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, achieving sales of more than 10 million since hitting the market on Sept. 19. That's double the first-weekend sales for the iPhone 5, released in 2012.
Both of the new devices feature larger screens than previous iPhones, with the iPhone 6 sporting a 4.7-inch Retina HD display and the iPhone 6 Plus having a screen size of 5.5 inches. Large-screen mobile phones, dubbed "phablets" because they approach the size of tablet devices, have been a fast-growing segment of the mobile-device market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said early sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus could have been even higher if his company had been able to bring more of the devices to market.
"While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply, and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible," Cook said.
The first-weekend sales figures are even more remarkable because they don't include China. Apple has not announced a release date for that large market, reportedly because it is still awaiting approval for the devices from Chinese regulators.
Phablet Market a 'Cash Cow'
We reached out to IDC analyst Ramon Llamas to get his take on the early sales figures for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
"There are a lot of vendors out there who would love to have that kind of experience," Llamas said, adding that the market for large-screen mobile phones has proven to be a "cash cow."
"It's a market that Samsung has created," he told us.
The question for Apple now, Llamas said, is, "How do they move on from here?" While the company could wait until the big Chinese New Year holiday in February to roll out the new devices in that market, he said, "I really hope it's going to be sooner than later."
Until then, Chinese consumers eager to own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus will have to be ready to pay higher, black-market prices.
"The black market could prove itself to be rather unwieldy," Llamas said.
Support for Mobile Payments
In addition to their larger screens, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus come with a number of new features, including Apple Pay, a new system that enables quick and secure payments without cash or credit/debit cards. Both will also support interactions with the new, smart Apple Watch, which is set to go on sale in early 2015.
As a first-generation device, the Apple Watch is unlikely to be a significant driver of iPhone 6 sales, Llamas said, noting that the smart watch will also be compatible with the earlier iPhone 5 models.
Other features of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus include the new iOS 8 operating system, a new Health app and iCloud Drive for cloud-based file storage.