3D Touch Is Apple’s New Secret Weapon

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Inc’s new pink iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus prove popular as record weekend sales expected.

That’s a question facing chief executive officer Tim Cook as the latest batch of handsets began landing in stores worldwide on Friday. Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus hit stores around the world on Friday, kicking off what is expected to be a record weekend of sales as customers scrambled to buy Apple Inc’s marquee product in pink for the first time.The iPhone 6s feels instantly a tad heavier and bulkier than its predecessor, but the feeling of “different” wears off minutes later when you delve into the capabilities of this new, slickly designed and, of course, gorgeous phone. Eager buyers – joined by at least one robot – flocked to Apple stores from Sydney to New York and San Francisco, itching to get their hands on new models boasting an improved camera and a screen feature Apple calls ‘3D Touch’, which performs different functions depending on how hard a user presses. “It’s very intuitive. I’m really excited to see what developers do with it,” Leah Bentley, a 22-year-old software developer from Emeryville, California, said inside Apple’s San Francisco store after purchasing her phone.

But if I were to lay the iPhone 6 beside a 6s and ask you to play around for a minute on each one, I doubt you’d be able to tell which is the new and improved version. For all the sophisticated technology packed into the new iPhones, customers interviewed by Reuters were most excited by a more low-tech feature: the ‘rose gold’ finish, a new shade that Apple introduced with the current phone. The novel hue – essentially sparkling pink – accounted for more than a third of early in-store sales, according to FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives, citing conversations with buyers.

Of course, we are nearly forced to cover up our smartphone jewelry with ugly cases, even more so with the last two models featuring rounded edges that undoubtedly lead to more floor impacts. One store at least was buzzing, as Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook made a surprise visit to company’s store in Georgetown, Washington, to raucous cheers from employees and shoppers.

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 launch of the hugely successful iPhone 6 was delayed in China, the world’s biggest smartphone market. Apple, whose shares were largely unchanged on Friday, has said pre-orders suggested sales were on pace to beat last year’s first-weekend performance. It usually announces first weekend sales on the following Monday. “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. For the following year’s model, designated with an “s” tacked on to the number, the Cupertino, California-based company makes more subtle improvements. Still, Apple has only about 16 percent of the global smartphone market compared to 81 percent for devices running Google Inc’s Android system, according to tech research firm IDC’s projections for this year.

More important than customer appetite for upgrades is sales outside the United States, particularly in China, said Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. A few more little conveniences would have generated more good-will capital with fans who show up loyally each year to spend gobs of money on a product that is often just an incremental improvement. The new models reached stores Friday in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, the UK, Canada, the US and Puerto Rico. They will go on sale in more than 130 countries by year-end, according to Apple. “I never had an iPhone before,” said the 38-year-old truck driver from Corona, Queens. “I see all my friends playing with their iPhones and new devices, and I said, ‘You know what, maybe it’s time for me to upgrade,”’ said Gonzalez, who has been using an HTC handset. Shares of audio chipmaker Cirrus Logic Inc jumped 15 percent after iFixit’s tear-down revealed that Apple had used its chips, as it did in previous iPhones.

Lackluster offerings this year from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd will help Apple stand out in the marketplace, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. Stores in China — Apple’s largest market outside the US — drew faithful buyers like Wu Kai, who picked up two phones from a packed Apple outlet at Beijing’s Xidan Joycity mall. “Apple products are becoming family members,” the 17-year-old student said, explaining how he and his parents rely on every Apple product from the Mac Pro to the iPad. “It’s just good product that’s shaping our everyday life.” Cook has said he expects the world’s second-largest economy to eventually become Apple’s largest market. Greater China accounted for 27 per cent of revenue in the June quarter, more than all of Europe, and remains a swing factor for the company’s iPhone-reliant earnings.

Freelance technology journalist Lindsay Handmer, 32, waited for 18 days in front of the shop to be the first, showering at a local gym and using the toilets at a McDonald’s. The stock through Thursday was down 14 per cent from its high in February, in part because of concerns that the device can’t sustain its run of unprecedented growth.

Apple last week predicted it would top last year’s opening-weekend sales record of 10 million units, although that figure is boosted by availability this year in China, which wasn’t part of the initial roll-out last year. A better gauge for how the device is selling will come in January, when the company reports sales for the holiday quarter. “The biggest area of interest for investors is the December quarter. Apple also introduced a programme for paying in instalments of at least $37 (Dh136) a month, similar to plans offered by wireless companies including AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

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