Apple Inc. sold a record of more than 10 million iPhones the first weekend two new versions hit stores, helping chief executive Tim Cook in a push to narrow Samsung Electronics Co.'s lead in bigger-screen smartphones.
Sales surpassed last year's 9 million units when the iPhone 5s and 5c were introduced, the Cupertino, California-based company said Monday. The devices went on sale on Friday in the same countries where the 2013 rollout occurred with the exception of mainland China, which had sparked concern this year's debut might fall short of the record.
"While our team managed the manufacturing ramp better than ever before, we could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply, and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible," Cook said in the statement.
Cook is using the iPhone 6, which has a 4.7-inch display, and iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5-inch screen, to push into the turf of Samsung, HTC Corp. and other manufacturers of jumbo smartphones.
The rollout of the new iPhones will be followed by the anticipated debut of new iPad models next month as the company revamps its product lineup before the holiday shopping season. The iPhones account for more than half of Apple's $171 billion in annual revenue.
"The biggest benefit is the bigger screen," said Chris Caso, an analyst at Susquehanna International Group in New York, who has a positive rating on Apple's stock. "There was a lot of pent-up demand for that. By having a larger screen size it's giving people a reason to upgrade their phone."
The new iPhones arrived in Apple stores in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Demand was robust even before the devices arrived. Preorders of the latest models topped 4 million units in the first 24 hours.
Sales of the iPhones exceeded expectations for the first weekend, "shattering all previous sell-through records by a large margin," Cook said.
The results of Apple's opening weekend indicate the larger iPhones are helping convert Android users, said Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co. "With its larger display and longer battery life, people are beginning to switch back from their Android phones," he said.
While Apple didn't break out unit sales for each of the two new phones, about 60 percent of the initial buyers during opening weekend bought the 6 Plus, according to an estimate from Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. in Minneapolis.