Apple: First weekend iPhone 6 sales top 10 million, set new record

Smartphone users snapped up Apple's latest iteration of the iPhone in record numbers, the tech giant announced Monday, saying sales topped 10 million in three days.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales eclipsed the launch figures of the 5S and 5C models, which moved 9 million units in their first three days last year, the Cupertino, California-based company said. Thousands of consumers had camped out at Apple retail stores around the world in advance of the launch, some for weeks.

CEO Tim Cook said despite technical glitches in the preorder process, "we couldn't be happier." Apple "could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible."

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The big number is significant for several reasons. Many analysts had been expecting Apple to match last year's launch tally, given that the company's biggest growth market—China— wasn't in play. Those analysts are now likely to boost their revenue and earnings estimates for Apple's fourth quarter, since all iPhones shipped before next Tuesday will be included in that period.

The delayed launch of the iPhone 6 in China is now also likely to shift from a negative to a positive, since Apple's results for the next quarter are likely to get a boost from that event as well.

The big result may also change the game for the quarter that ends in December. Wall Street analysts generally had been looking for 59 million units in the quarter, and are now more likely to raise those estimates if the iPhone 6 is available for most of the quarter.

In premarket trading, Apple's stock was up slightly from Friday's close.

--By CNBC's Jon Fortt; writing by Javier E. David