HolidayBuyer's Guide

Apple sells 10M iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices in first weekend

The bigger-screen iPhones take off at a record-setting pace. Apparently consumers are happy that Apple decided to live large.

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Hundreds of people waited in line at the Apple Store in downtown San Francisco to buy the phone Friday.Photo by James Martin/CNET

Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have broken yet another record.

The company said Monday that its first weekend sales topped 10 million devices. It didn't break out sales between the two models, though the iPhone 6 Plus seemed to be a much harder device to find over the last three days.

"Sales for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus exceeded our expectations for the launch weekend, and we couldn't be happier," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.

This year's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are most notable for their scaled-up screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively, giving Apple fans the option of larger handsets already commonplace among Android phones. The devices went on sale Friday in 10 countries, starting at $199 for the iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage space and going up to $499 for the 6 Plus with 128GB of memory. The smartphones will go on sale in 20 more countries starting Sept. 26.

Apple last week said customers preordered more than 4 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 devices in the first 24 hours after advance sales began. By comparison, Apple two years ago received over 2 million preorders for the iPhone 5 within 24 hours, and first weekend sales totaled more than 5 million. Last year, the first time Apple offered two iPhone models, the company said it sold 9 million units of the iPhone 5S and 5C devices in the first weekend after they hit stores.

Sprint chimed in later Monday, noting that the debut of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus marked the most successful iPhone launch in the carrier's history.

The iPhone 6 has the potential to be the biggest launch in Apple's 38-year history, with the latest design providing two larger-screen models, slimmer and lighter bodies, and a new mobile-payment system. Apple reportedly has asked manufacturing partners to produce about 70 million to 80 million units of its larger-screen iPhones by December 30, which is about 30 percent to 40 percent more iPhones than it ordered for its initial run of last year's iPhone 5S and 5C.

Demand for the new smartphones has outpaced initial supplies, Apple has said. As of Sunday, the iPhone 6 models were slated to ship in seven to 10 business days, while the 6 Plus devices would ship in three to four weeks.

Demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was so high when preorders began Sept. 12 that Apple's online store and various carriers couldn't keep up. Outages plagued the Apple Store site for more than two hours after the iPhones became available for presale at midnight PT. Despite the outages, customers scooped up the devices at a rapid clip. And thousands of people lined up at Apple and carrier stores to buy the device on Friday.

The iPhone is Apple's most important device and its biggest moneymaker, accounting for more than half of sales. Millions of customers continue to purchase its older devices, but Apple has been challenged by a trend toward bigger-screen smartphones from Samsung, HTC and others. Introducing larger screens with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will help it please current customers and possibly tempt some buyers away from its competitors.

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