UPDATE 4-New pink iPhones prove popular as record weekend sales expected

Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:28pm EDT
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* Analysts expect first-weekend sales of 12 mln-13 mln

* iPhone 6s and 6s Plus sales seen getting China boost

* New 'rose gold' color popular with buyers (Rewrites, adds comments from phone buyers, background on global phone market)

By Julia Love, Siddharth Cavale and Pauline Askin

SAN FRANCISCO/SYDNEY, Sept 25 (Reuters) - The iPhone 6s and 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.

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.

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.   Continued...