And you thought Alibaba was the big news in the tech world today. (In fact, it was, with an IPO that jumped 37 percent in its first day of trading.) While the Chinese e-commerce giant was the talk of the New York Stock Exchange trading floor and CNBC types, shoppers in 10 countries around the world — including Australia, Singapore, Japan, Germany, the U.K. and U.S. — were buzzing with excitement over the release of Apple’s new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Under CEO Tim Cook, Apple finally bumped up the screen size of its smartphones this year, putting out models with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens years after competitors like Samsung aggressively began pushing larger and larger displays on high-end phones and “phablets” sized between a phone and tablet. The iPhone 6 Plus, priced at $749 without a cellular service contract, is Apple’s most expensive phone ever.
Based on reports that said the lines for the new iPhones were longer than in previous years, going big looks likely to pay off big. The lines, though, clearly weren’t just diehard Apple fans looking to land the latest device for their own use. As The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, many of those buying up the new phones were doing so with the intention of reselling them, often at wildly inflated prices, in a “growing gray market” in China, Russia and other countries.
Apple said earlier this week that it had gotten a record number of preorders for the new phone models within 24 hours after they were announced. More than 4 million of the devices were ordered, exceeding Apple’s initial pre-order supply and surpassing the 2 million units pre-ordered in 2012 when the iPhone 5 was introduced.
The apparent strong demand suggests the iPhone 6 could provide a boost to Apple’s sales growth — and may be able to restore some of the cachet Apple has lost in consumers’ eyes. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Sept. 8-13, some 16 percent of respondents said that the company had become less cool over the last two years (48 percent said it had gotten cooler). By comparison, about 11 percent of respondents said Android-based phones had lost some of their luster, while 50 percent said phones powered by the Google software had gotten cooler.
Top Reads from The Fiscal Times: