Apple said today it sold more than 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus during the first weekend on the market, a new record for the product. 

The company improved its previous record of 10 million iPhones sold in the first weekend of 2014, benefiting from the inclusion of the Chinese market, where the gadget's debut was delayed last year by regulatory issues. 

Analysts had expected the company to sell 12 million to 13 million phones during the first weekend. 

"Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple's history," Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in a statement. 

"Customers' feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can't wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9," he said. 

Apple said the new iPhones will be available in more than 40 additional countries - including Ireland - starting October 9, reaching more than 130 countries by the end of the year.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus arrived in stores on Friday, kicking off a sales cycle that will be scrutinised for signs of how much allure remains for Apple's marquee product. 

The company relies heavily on the sale of its flagship iPhones, which generated nearly two-thirds of its revenue in the latest quarter.