iPhone 6 Plus demand much higher

New images of Apple 'iPhone 6L'

By James Geddes

iPhone 6 Plus demand has been much higher than anticipated, accounting for almost half the sales of Apple’s latest iPhones, T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed in a recent interview.

When Apple announced the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company’s first foray into the phablet world, expectations were that it would take time for the device to build in popularity, and that demand for the device would be dwarfed by that for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, its more familiar and easier-to-hold counterpart.

When Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus on Sept. 19, it became clear that there was indeed a market for the 5.5-inch phablet, as it immediately became impossible to find either online or at retail. eBay sellers were reselling the iPhone 6 Plus at a huge markup. However, since it wasn’t clear how many of the iPhone 6 Plus models were manufactured by Apple and made available in the first place, it was hard to gauge how strong the demand actually was for Apple’s first phablet.

A new interview with the CEO of T-Mobile, John Legere, shed new light on the topic. Legere stated that T-Mobile, along with the rest of the industry, assumed that 75 percent to 80 percent of consumers would be choosing the standard 4.7-inch iPhone 6, with the remaining 20 percent to 25 percent buying the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Instead, the demand for the larger device was at one point as high as 45 percent, which represents almost half of all buyers. While Legere wasn’t sure what the current breakdown is, clearly the demand for the iPhone 6 Plus is far exceeding expectations.

As we recently reported, demand for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is still extremely high, with several models of both devices unavailable or almost impossible to find. Among those models, the 64-GB iPhone 6 Plus in particular is definitively a more difficult score.

The retail availability tracker we reported on shows the 64 GB iPhone6 Plus completely sold out at T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint, and available for Verizon in only two Apple stores in the entire U.S. – one in Nebraska and the other in Oklahoma. While the 16-GB version is readily available, the 128-GB iPhone 6 Plus is only available at a few Sprint and Verizon stores, and completely unavailable at AT&T and T-Mobile.

It is unclear if the limited availability of the iPhone 6 Plus actually means that even more than the 45 percent of T-Mobile customers Legere cited would have purchased the phablet but decided to go for the smaller iPhone 6 because of the wait.