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Apple stunner or bummer? Depends who you ask

On Monday, Apple announced a record number of sales for its new iPhone 6s in its opening weekend, topping analyst estimates with more than 13 million units sold.

However, analysts are divided on whether this is great news for the company, or another lackluster smartphone delivery from the popular tech giant. And the answer comes down to what's happening in China.

Sales numbers, which analysts estimated to come in around 12-13 million, were aided this year by the addition of China to the launch. Because of this, Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Co. says that the outlook for the iPhone 6s is "less rosy" than it first appears.

Read MoreApple sold more than 13M new iPhones, a record

IPhone 6s sales increased about 3 million units from the 2014 release of the iPhone 6, which saw 10 million in sales for the first weekend.

But without counting China, iPhone sales should actually be largely flat, Arcuri wrote.

"Following our Asia checks, the bias still appears to the downside for iPhone units" for the rest of the year and the first quarter of 2016, Arcuri wrote. "The supply chain also did not see upward revisions over the weekend as was the case in prior years."

But Daniel Ives of FBR Capital Markets thinks the record sales are a positive sign for both Apple and for those who have been concerned about the slowing economy in China.

In a Monday research note, Ives estimates that China sales account for 2-2.5 million of the new number, which would indicate a 5-10 percent growth in iPhone sales outside of China, for what the analyst calls a "Lebron-like performance."

That number is in line with the 10 percent ex-China growth estimated by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Read MoreApple iPhone growth not slowing yet: Analyst

Ives wrote that pre-order sales look "particularly strong out of the linchpin China region."

However, if Ives believed opening weekend sales were as strong in China as Arcuri apparently does, he would actually be forced to similarly conclude that overall sales showed no growth.

But even if China sales reached 3 million, enough to indicate no overall growth, Munster still says that's a positive for the tech company.

"There's been so much concern about this cycle, that [if it's] in line, I'm fine with that. Investors should be fine with that," Munster said Monday in a phone interview with CNBC. "Some people will say that's OK, because that's expectations. And some people will say that's negative, because flat is negative for Apple."

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Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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