The new iPhones launched in 12 countries Friday, including the U.S. and China, a growing market for both Apple and other smartphone makers.
This year's release introduced some subtle tweaks, including 3D Touch that gauges the pressure users apply to the touchscreen, a 12-megapixel, rear-facing camera and Live Photos to add animations to your images.
Last week, Apple said the new smartphones are on pace to top last year's record for opening weekend sales.
"Customer response to the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus has been incredibly positive," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a statement Friday.
Sales of the 6S models should perform better "because of wider country availability early, especially China," says Ian Fogg, director of mobile analysis at IHS Technology. "The biggest innovations that Apple has done have typically been on the S series. On the surface the product looks the same, but under the bonnet it’s totally different."
At Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York, an estimated few hundred people queued up to get their new iPhones, but the scene was more subdued than iPhone launches past, perhaps because the Pope was in town.
Twenty-five year-old Lithuanian visual communication design student Justina Siciunaite was the first to get an iPhone at this particular store, specifically the new rose gold colored-6S. She did not trade in her existing 5S. And though she reserved her phone in advance, she got on line at 2 a.m. ET.
Siciunaite is surprised all this attention. “It’s so weird, oh my god. I’m blushing. I’m still shaking.” she said. Still, when she came out of the store with her new purchase, she was not shy about hamming it up for the cameras.
Siciunaite says she is very excited about the new Live Photos feature, as well as 3D Touch.
An unabashed Apple fan, she will be buying the new iPad Pro when it comes out later in the fall. “I’m going to buy one.” Will she be first in line again? “I’ll try my best.”
As Apple drifts toward another potential record weekend, the real test comes next year with the likely launch of the iPhone 7, says Fogg, by keeping 6S sales chugging in a mature smartphone market while unveiling a major redesign to push upgrades. "This will be a greater challenge than achieving success in 2015 where Apple has benefitted from the straightforward switch to offering larger screen iPhones.”
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