Apple says iPhone on pace to beat last year's first weekend sales

Apple chief executive Tim Cook launching the new iPhones at a special media event held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Sept 9, 2015.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook launching the new iPhones at a special media event held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Sept 9, 2015. ST PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - Apple Inc. said its new iPhone models are on pace to surpass last year's record first weekend of 10 million units, signaling continued demand for the company's flagship device.

"Customer response to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been extremely positive and preorders this weekend were very strong around the world," Apple spokesman Trudy Muller said.

Apple didn't give figures for preorders for the handsets. The new models, introduced at an event in San Francisco last week, feature an improved camera, faster processor and a new feature called 3D Touch that provides shortcuts to common tasks when pressing firmly on the screen.

The new iPhones hit stores Sept. 25 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the U.K and the U.S. The company also started a new leasing program where customers can get a new models iPhone every year for starting at US$32 per month.

Maintaining healthy demand for the iPhone is critical for Apple, which got more than 60 per cent of its revenue from the handsets in recent quarters. Analysts also have raised questions of whether the new models will be able to match the success of last year's record-setting release, when the company overhauled the design of the device with bigger screens.