Pent-up demand for a larger iPhone seems to have driven Apple to a new opening day pre-sale record. The company announced Monday morning that in the first 24 hours of ordering, the iPhone 6 and iPhone Plus models pre-sold over 4 million units. Consumers quickly went through Apple/s allotted pre-order supply that could be delivered on launch day, Sept. 19. While limited quantities of the devices will be available to line-waiters worldwide this Friday morning, online ordering is now backed up into October deliveries for most models. Demand for the super-sized 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus model appears to be especially strong, as those models sold out the initial supply within hours last week.
And the online rush caused unprecedented problems at Apple.com’s ordering system. The store was down for extended periods throughout the day. Communications between Apple and its carrier partners to determine upgrade eligibility were disrupted.
The iPhone 6 comes after years of Apple resisting market pressure to enlarge its phones. Most Android phones, especially 5-inch and larger units from chief rival Samsung, were embraced by consumers. Apple has also included in these models technology like near-field Communications (NFC) as well as its own Apple Pay wallet and payment system, which other manufacturers have included but with limited market impact. Some analysts argue that Apple’s entry into the mobile payments market with a large installed base of compatible phones will help the new mode of retail payment get some traction at last.
Samsung, which vies with Apple as the world’s leading handset maker, was quick to counter Apple's big PR win last week with a series of mocking online video spots. The company ridiculed its rival for everything from copying a phablet phone size it pioneered years ago to the botched video streaming of the Apple announcement last week.
In the U.S., Apple has over 41% of the smartphone market compared to Samsung’s 26%, according to comScore in June.