Now the news is official, and it looks as though Apple has once again shattered expectations. In the first 24 hours after the release of the iPhone 6, the company received over four million pre-orders, more than twice the number placed for the iPhone 5. By the end of the year, Apple expects to have the iPhone 6 series available in 115 countries. Global demand for the smartphone is expected to be high. Despite the fact that China was left out of the initial iPhone 6 rollout, Chinese buyers were lining up in front of Japanese stores to get their hands on the larger-screen model. Demand has created a black market for the iPhone 6 in China with prices close to $4,000 for certain case colors.
Indeed, it’s the screen size increase that Apple hopes will drive fresh international demand for its device and the company’s associated ecosystem. Samsung has long had an advantage with buyers of its larger-screen “phablets” (a combo of “phone” and “tablet”). The iPhone 6 offers a 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus has upped the screen size to 5.5 inches. This is a considerable leap from the 5s screen sizeof 4 inches.
Any time a screen size or resolution changes, app developers must take note. Apple reports that existing apps should have no problem scaling up to the larger iPhone 6 sizes, though it remains to be seen how well unoptimized apps will fare going forward. In the early hands-on reports, Apple had loaded the devices with apps specifically optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new size also includes slightly larger keyboard buttons and additional keyboard keys in landscape mode. Developers who have invested in mobile app translation and have different versions of their apps for international customers will want to be sure to test their interfaces on the new devices.
The iPhone 6 comes with an operating system upgrade as well. iOS 8 offers many new features, including Apple Pay. Apple Pay will allow owners to use a near-field communication payment system. Europe has long had NFC payment terminals, with Visa rolling out the terminals as early as2007. For now, however, Apple Pay will only be available in the U.S. Apple is reportedly in negotiations to launch ApplePay in Europe. Becoming a dominant player in the NFC payment space is clearly part of Apple’s big picture strategy, as significant opportunity exists in the highly-fragmented global market.
With the iPhone 6, Apple seems ready to take on markets where Samsung’s Android devices have traditionally flourished. Mobile app and game developers will do well to keep close tabs on the pace of upgrades and subsequent shifts in Apple’s global market share over the next few quarters.
Photo Credit: Adrianna Calvo