China lifts iPhone sales to an even higher level

Sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus comfortably beat the record of ten million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets sold during launch weekend — defined by Apple as the first three days of sales — in September last year.

Unlike last year, China featured among iPhone launch countries this year. Daniel Ives, a senior analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said that Chinese sales appeared to be “white hot”.

The Times reports that the iPhone is by far the biggest part of Apple’s business, with sales accounting for nearly two thirds of revenue in the most recent quarter.

Apple shares touched nearly $135 in April amid soaring optimism about iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales. They were trading down by 1.5 per cent at $113 yesterday afternoon.

IHS Technology predicts that Apple will sell 236 million iPhones this year, up by nearly a quarter on last year. However, Ian Fogg, an IHS analyst, suggested that Apple could have trouble sustaining momentum next year. “Apple is going to have to find a way to reinvent the iPhone and it is hard to find something that is radically new,” he said.

During the launch weekend this year, Apple sold the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in 12 countries with a combined population in excess of two billion, according to an analysis by Walt Piecyk, of BTIG. This compared with about 730 million people in ten launch countries for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014.

The upgraded iPhones feature touchscreens that detect how hard they are being pressed, which opens up new ways of navigating around the device. Another new feature animates still photographs, for example, by showing a ripple in a pond after a photo is taken. The devices also come with upgraded processors and cameras.

Tim Cook, the Apple chief executive, said that sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were “phenomenal” and that feedback from customers had been “incredible”.

Apple will expand sales of the new devices to more than 40 other countries, including Russia, Italy and Spain, on October 9. Sales in India will begin on October 16. By the end of the year the phones will be available in 130 countries.

Apple sold 183 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets in the nine months to the end of June this year. Third-quarter profits rose by 38 per cent to $10.7 billion on revenue of $49.6 billion, up by 33 per cent on the same quarter last year.