Apple: iPhone 6S, 6S Plus preorders 'very strong' in opening weekend
Based on the number of preorders, Apple expects the new crop of iPhones to surpass last year's first-weekend numbers of 10 million units.
Lance WhitneyContributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
The new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are seeing robust initial demand, Apple said Monday.
Apple on Saturday began taking preorders for its latest iPhones, allowing consumers to lock in their purchases in advance of the actual launch date of September 25. The starting moments weren't entirely smooth: Some online sites, such as Apple's own online store, were unavailable for roughly the first hour.
But despite any technical issues, orders apparently have been flying.
This year marks an off-year for the iPhone, with less dramatic changes. One major new feature, called 3D Touch, lets you perform different actions on an app based on how hard you press its icon. But otherwise, the new iPhones mostly brought fine-tuning to the processor, camera, Touch ID, body and a few other features.
That makes it trickier to do a precise year-to-year comparison, and the fact that Apple did not provide actual preorder numbers opens room for speculation.
"Typically Apple provides an update on the number of orders it receives during its first 24 hours," said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with the Wall Street firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "However, Apple did not provide this figure today, raising the question of whether it *might* be lower than last year's total of 4 [million]."
The mobile landscape is also different from last year. In the past, people typically paid a subsidized price for their smartphones under a contract that restricted them to a new phone every two years. Now, all four of the major US carriers are either forcing or encouraging consumers to pay the full retail price for a phone, giving them the option to upgrade a new one more frequently. That means more buyers of last year's iPhone 6 or 6S may opt for the latest models if they're not tied to a contract. Apple itself now offers an annual upgrade in which buyers can pay off an iPhone with a certain amount each month in exchange for the option of buying next year's model.
At this point, Apple's US Web site is promising that most variations of the iPhone 6S will ship on September 25 to those who preorder, though some customers may have to wait two to three weeks. Demand for the iPhone 6S Plus, however, has created a delay in shipping, with most variations unable to ship for three to four weeks.
The iPhone 6S retails for $649 for the 16-gigabyte model, $749 for the 64GB version and $849 for the 128GB edition. The iPhone 6S Plus runs for $749 for the 16GB model, $849 for the 64GB version and $949 for the 128GB edition. The new phones will be available in 12 countries at Apple retail stores starting at 8:00 a.m. local time on September 25.