Apple Launch Mania: Selling 50 iPhones Per Second

AP/Vincent Yu
AP/Vincent Yu
Newport Beach, CA

Apple reported that it sold over 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in the launch weekend, beating its 2014 iPhone 6 record by 3 million devices.

Wall Street analysts had expected Apple to sell up to 12 million smartphones, because the devices were also made available in China on the first launch day. In the past, China as Apple’s second largest market had to wait for about a month after prior US launches. But demand seemed very strong for the larger screen iPhone 6S series.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said on the company’s website, “Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first-weekend sales results in Apple’s history.” He added, “Customers’ feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can’t wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9.”

Customers were being encouraged to check the Apple Store® app or to receive updates on availability and estimated delivery dates. Every customer buying an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus at an Apple Retail Store will be offered free Personal Setup service to help customize their iPhone’s email settings and installing any new apps from the App Store℠.

Apple announced last week that that it would be selling phones under its own Apple installment plan that lets customers pay a flat $32 a month for a 24 month ownership plan. The unlocked phones allow an upgrade every year, which could be lucrative for Apple.

The new unlocked phones represent a big risk to the business model of the cell phone carriers, because users can switch from carrier to carrier at any time, instead of having to wait for a two year contract.

Besides Apple direct in the US, the new iPhones have been available through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and additional carriers, and select Apple Authorized Resellers including Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

In the past, Apple has used “hunger marketing,” by reducing the number of iPads and iPhones produced and available during a launch period to give the first-user exclusivity as a strategy to maintain a high prices and profits.

The iPhone 6s offers a better camera, a significantly faster processor, Touch ID and 3D Touch. But when Apple said earlier this month that it was “on pace” to surpass last year’s milestone of 10 million smartphones sold, no one expected they would encourage 13 million units orders.

Apple said the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has rolled out to 40 additional countries, including Belgium, Greece, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia and Turkey. They will be available in more than 130 countries by the end of the year, according to the re/code blog.

In its first three days of availability, Apple has sold an average of 50 iPhone a second. Apple didn’t break out sales numbers under the new iPhone Upgrade Program, which lets you buy a phone as a service. It’s a 24-month payment plan with an option to upgrade for a new iPhone every year that starts at $32 model for the lowest iPhone 6s model.