First iPhone 6s Shoppers All Smiles in Rain as Apple Store Opens

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By Reuters

The new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus hit stores on Friday, with dozens of people — and a robot — lining up in Sydney, Australia, to kick off a global sales cycle that will be scrutinized for signs of how much juice Apple Inc's marquee product has left.

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 hugely successful iPhone 6's launch was delayed in China, the world's biggest smartphone market.

Apple staff right, clap as the first three lucky shoppers Lindsay Handmer, from Western Sydney and Victor Epiphanio left, from Brazil and Lucy an Atomic 212 Robot walk out of the store after purchasing new iPhone 6s phones, outside the Apple Store, in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.Glenn Nicholls / AP

Among the first to pick up the new iPhone 6s in a cold, rainy Sydney was a telepresence robot named Lucy, operated by marketing executive Lucy Kelly.

"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.

"I love new gadgets. The new camera is meant to be amazing."

Fans from San Francisco to London to Sydney have camped out for days prior to the release, and Apple said earlier this month that pre-orders suggested sales were on pace to beat last year's first-weekend performance.