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New iPhones drawing long lines to Apple stores

Apple stores across the country attracted long lines of shoppers for Friday's debut of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, indicating robust pent-up demand for the bigger-screen smartphones.

On Long Island, a line began forming outside the Apple store in Manhasset on Wednesday afternoon.

In Manhattan, Pedro Regadillo said he began waiting outside Apple's store on Fifth Avenue about two weeks ago. The 59-year-old Air Force veteran, who has stood in line to buy iPhones three times before on the first day of sales, said he had his heart set on an iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen.

"I love the size," said Regadillo, who was near the front of a line that wound its way around the block and included tourists who had flown in from Brazil. "I've got a problem with my vision."

Apple's iPhone rollout is the most important event this year for the Cupertino, California-based company. CEO Tim Cook is counting on the phones to maintain Apple's sales growth. The devices generate more than half of the company's annual $171 billion in revenue.

The buzz over the smartphones has been high since Cook unveiled them at a Sept. 9 event.

When the iPhones became available for pre-order a week ago, they racked up a record 4 million reservations in the first 24 hours and surpassed earlier releases.

RBC Capital Markets polled 6,000 consumers and found that "an impressive 26 percent of respondents who intend to purchase an iPhone are new" to Apple's ecosystem, with the majority coming from Android.

Carl Howe, an analyst at 451 Research, said Apple may sell 12 million to 15 million of the new devices this weekend, but other analysts made lower projections, partly due to supply constraints and to Apple's decision that China isn't one of the first countries to receive the devices.

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