Last year Apple sold 4 million iPhone 6 devices in the first 24 hours of pre-orders. Pre-orders of the new iPhone 6s start tonight at midnight, and Apple will be hard pressed to match last year’s number.
That’s because the iPhone 6s doesn’t have the advantage of introducing a whole new (bigger) form factor to the product line as the iPhone 6 did.
On the other hand, Chinese consumers will be able to pre-order the iPhone 6s, where last year they were excluded from pre-orders of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. New Zealand also gets added to the list of 12 pre-order countries this year.
“We expect around 5 million pre-orders for the iPhone 6s/6s Plus in the first 24 hours is achievable and note that we wouldn’t expect Apple to release a number if it were below last year’s 4 million,” writes Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a research note today.
“We believe that China alone could offer a significant bump in pre-orders given that we believe it represents around 30 percent of iPhone sales,” Munster says.
Apple has offered pre-orders for two of the last three launches — the iPhone 5 and iPhone 6, but not the 5S. Apple is likely to announce a pre-order number this Monday (as they have in past launches), depending on the number of phones sold over the weekend.
Munster adds that new phone leasing programs from the wireless carriers, and now from Apple, allow consumers easier access to the latest phones and may further push up the number of pre-orders.
China’s three major carriers — China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom — are expected support iPhones (now including the 6s) on their 4G LTE networks.