Apple Fans, Robot Brave Sydney Rain as New iPhone 6s Hits Stores

Apple Fans, Robot Brave Sydney Rain as New iPhone 6s Hits Stores
The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus hit stores on Friday, with dozens of people - and a robot - queueing in Sydney to kick off a global sales cycle that will be scrutinized for signs of how much juice Apple Inc's marquee product has left.

Analysts expect 12 million to 13 million phones to fly off the shelves in the first weekend, up from more than 10 million last year when the hugely successful iPhone 6's launch was delayed in China, the world's biggest smartphone market.

Among the first to pick up the new iPhone 6s in a cold, rainy Sydney was a telepresence robot named Lucy, operated by marketing executive Lucy Kelly.

(Also see:  iPhone 6s Queues Start Early, and This Year's Star Is a Robot)

"I obviously have my work and other things to attend to and can't spend two days lining up so my boss at work suggested I take one of the robots down and use it to stand in my place," she said via an iPad mounted on top of the wheeled robot.

"I love new gadgets. The new camera is meant to be amazing."

Fans from San Francisco to London to Sydney have camped out for days prior to the release, and Apple said earlier this month that pre-orders suggested sales were on pace to beat last year's first-weekend performance.

Apple's flagship iPhones generated nearly two-thirds of the US giant's revenue in the latest quarter. First released in 2007, the iPhone is Apple's best-selling device to date.

"The stage is set for Apple to show year-over-year growth over the Herculean iPhone 6 sales," FBR Capital Markets senior analyst Daniel Ives said.

After a dramatic redesign last year in which Apple enlarged the iPhone's screen and added mobile payments, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus boast more modest improvements.

The phones, which are the same size as last year's models, feature improved cameras and 3D touch, a display technology that responds according to how hard users press their screens.

"Today is like Christmas for pocket film makers all around the world because the iPhone 6s Plus is like the newest, greatest toy we have to play with," said Jason van Genderen, who makes movies on smart phones in Sydney.

"I've never seen anything like it, it's astounding. The camera craft has now come up to story telling craft."

Apple executives have said just a fraction of their customers have upgraded to the iPhone 6, suggesting they have plenty of room to grow this year.

Lackluster offerings this year from rival smartphone manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co Ltd also will help Apple stand out in the marketplace, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy wrote in an email.

"Over the long haul, the 6s will eclipse the 6 as Apple is even more competitive versus Samsung in emerging regions and is gaining share in traditional regions," Moorhead wrote in an email.

"Samsung didn't bring a whole lot of compelling features to consumers with their new lines of phones."

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which start at $199 and $299 (roughly Rs. 13,100 to Rs. 19,700) with a two-year contract with a mobile service provider, go on sale on Friday in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

© Thomson Reuters 2015

  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Fantastic performance
  • 3D Touch enables new UI paradigms
  • Great camera including brilliant front flash
  • Good battery life
  • Bad
  • Ungainly
  • Touch ID is too fast!
  • 16GB storage in base variant
  • Expensive
  • More big-screen software features would be welcome
Display 5.50-inch
Processor Apple A9
Front Camera 5-megapixel
Rear Camera 12-megapixel
RAM 2GB
Storage 16GB
Battery Capacity 2750mAh
OS iOS 9
Resolution 1080x1920 pixels
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Great design
  • Fantastic performance
  • 3D Touch enables new UI paradigms
  • Retina Flash on the front is great
  • Bad
  • Touch ID is too fast!
  • 16GB storage in base variant
  • Expensive
  • Battery life could be better
Display 4.70-inch
Processor Apple A9
Front Camera 5-megapixel
Rear Camera 12-megapixel
RAM 2GB
Storage 16GB
Battery Capacity 1715mAh
OS iOS 9
Resolution 750x1334 pixels
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