Apple fans line up en masse for iPhone 6, 6 Plus

Detroit staff and wire reports

Apple Inc.'s stores attracted long lines of shoppers worldwide for the debut of the latest iPhones Friday, indicating healthy demand for the bigger-screen smartphones.

The iPhone 6 and the 6 Plus went on sale in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, France, Germany and the UK, before rolling out in Puerto Rico, Canada and the U.S. Shoppers in Metro Detroit, New York and San Francisco had already formed lines in the past two days to be among the first to buy the gadgets.

Hundreds of iPhone users waited outside of the Apple store at the Somerset Collection Friday morning to pick up the new iPhone 6.

Marcella Sharak, 18 of Sterling Heights, was the second person in line to get her iPhone 6 Friday morning at the Apple Store at Somerset Collection.

Among them were Anthony Cipielewski of Sterling Heights and his fiancee, Jade Karganilla of Oak Park. The couple arrived at 2 a.m. and waited outside of the mall until the doors opened at 6 a.m.

"It's an experience," Karganilla said resting on a bench along the wait line route. " I've done this for two years straight. It's so worth it. It's not just a phone. Our whole lives are on the phone."

Karganilla said she looks forward to getting a gold-colored iPhone 6 Plus. She talked her fiancee into accompanying her. After a six-hour wait, he said he has enjoyed the experience.

"It was fun to get stuck with a bunch of other people you don't know," he said. "You make some friends."

First in line in Troy was Drew LaVigne, 20, of Lake Orion. He and his friends got in line at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Eleven hours later, LaVigne was the proud owner of a new phone.

"I waited for it because pretty much every part is new and better. There's a bigger screen and bigger resolution," LaVigne said. "I love it. It's such a beautiful phone. And it's so much thinner than the last one."

But he admits the love he feels for this phone won't be everlasting.

"In two years, when the iPhone 7 comes out, I'll get it," he said.

Apple Inc.'s larger iPhone 6 Plus is already selling out at some stores across the U.S.

The Apple store on the Upper West Side in Manhattan is out of the iPhone 6 Plus already, even as a line for reservations spilled into a concert hall next door and a regular line snaked up two blocks. Some phone carriers' stores in Manhattan were also selling out of limited supplies of the iPhone 6 Plus Friday morning. In downtown Portland, Oregon, customers in line have said the bigger model is sold out already.

Hundreds wait in line at the Apple Store at Somerset Collection Friday.

Even before the first day of sales, there were signs that supply of the new device may not meet demand. During the first 24 hours of record pre-orders a week ago, the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a larger display, started having shipping delays of three to four weeks, while some iPhone 6 models faced delays of seven to 10 days.

In central Paris, Elias Kartout was among the hundreds of people gathered outside an Apple store early in the morning, with a line stretching around the French capital's 19th century opera house. Kartout, a Belgian student, said he had yet to make up his mind on if he would go for the iPhone 6 or the 6 Plus.

"I'll decide once I've tried it to see how it feels in my hand," said Kartout, 22, who arrived last night, taking a detour on a trip to Italy.

Apple's iPhone rollout is the most important event this year for the Cupertino, California-based company. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is counting on the handsets to maintain Apple's sales growth. The devices generate more than half of the company's annual $171 billion in revenue and precede a swath of other products, including new iPads and Apple Watch. The iPhones also sport larger screens — 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, compared with 4 inches for previous models — helping Apple appeal to new consumers.

More than 1,000 people were in line for Apple's Regent Street store in London, some sitting on pieces of cardboard to stay dry after a night of rain. Llewellen Fourie, a surveyor from London, said he's had an iPhone since the original came out, and is now looking to upgrade his golden iPhone 5 to the 6 Plus because of its larger screen.

"Anything new is exciting even if it's a paint job," said Fourie, 39.

The line of hundreds of people outside the Apple store in central Sydney snaked around the block, then down a parallel street before extending three more blocks. At the middle of the line, Xin Liu, 25, a student at the Sydney Institute of Interpreting and Translating, had waited more than 11 hours to buy her parents a new phone.

"When I came here, I thought there would be about 500 people," she said. "But someone counted and there were already 800. I was really surprised."

In Hong Kong, hundreds lined up at the Apple store at the IFC mall to collect their new iPhones after registering online in advance. They were met by about a dozen protesters from Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour holding up signs that said "iSlave 6. Still made in sweatshops" and "Throw Away the Bad Apple."

With Apple yet to say when the iPhone 6 will be available in China, Chen Daihui and Yao Haitao traveled from the mainland to Hong Kong to try to secure the devices. After failing to register online, they were both disappointed.

"All I wanted was to go inside and have a look, and they wouldn't let me do that," said the 32-year-old Chen, who traveled from Fujian. "Looks like I will just have to wait."

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. Resellers said users are trading in older phones to make room for the new iPhones, while some phones are being offered on Hong Kong's black market for $3,600.

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 phones using Google Inc.'s Android software, Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC, wrote in a Sept. 17 note to investors.

A key question about the opening weekend is whether Apple will have enough inventory to satisfy demand.

Carl Howe, an analyst at 451 Research LLC, said Apple may sell 12 million to 15 million new devices this weekend. Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., wrote in a note to investors that he's projecting sales of 7 million to 8 million, which would fall short of last year's first weekend sales of 9 million units of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Sacconaghi attributed it partly to supply constraints and to the fact that China isn't one of the first countries selling the devices.

The new iPhones are targeted directly at bigger-screen smartphones popular with consumers in Asia. Those phones typically run on Android and are made by Samsung Electronics Co., Xiaomi Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd., among others.

In downtown Portland, Oregon, there were about 50 people in fold-out chairs. The first person in line outside Apple's downtown Toronto store was Dan Murchison, a retired truck driver, who was being paid to buy phones for a friend.

"I'm 62 years old, I remember when the first cell phones came out, they were gigantic and had 20 tons of batteries," said Murchison, who began camping outside the store on Sept. 17. "Then they all of a sudden shrunk them down to nothing. Now they're getting big again! I do not understand why, but that's the way it is."

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.