Production problems? Forget it.
The iPhone 8? A distant memory.
Throwing down more than a grand for the latest and greatest iPhone? That’s what they’re here for.
The iPhone X went on sale around the world on Friday, drawing crowds and long lines as Apple fans patiently waited to get their hands on the very best iPhone money can buy.
And spend money they did. The iPhone X (that’s pronounced “ten” not “ex”) just scrapes in under 1K in the US and UK, with a starting price of $999 and £999, respectively.
But in Australia, one of the first countries in the world to start selling the device, that price goes up to AU$1,579. And if you want the larger 256GB capacity, you’ll spend a whopping AU$1,879. (That’s $1,149 or £1,149 in the US and UK.)
This second launch, which comes more than a month after the launch of the iPhone 8, is the latest wrinkle in the annual gathering of Apple fanboys, gadget enthusiasts and publicity seekers. Apple’s decision to stagger the launches presented consumers with the dilemma of buying the more readily available iPhone 8 immediately, or holding out for the supposedly supply-constrained iPhone X.
To the people who showed up today, there was no question which iPhone won out.
They turned out in droves, despite (or maybe because of) early murmurings of production delays and reports that Apple might only ship half the number of devices it originally planned.
For many, it’s the only way to get the device on launch day, with pre-orders for the Nov. 3 shipping date selling out in as little as 10 minutes. Now, customers are facing delays of up to six weeks to get the true flagship Apple phone.
At Apple’s flagship Australian store in Sydney — the first store in the world to sell the new iPhone — lines formed early, with early birds queuing since the start of the week to be able to walk straight into the store on Friday to buy the phone.
For those who had preordered, the wait was much more civilised, with buyers queuing from Friday morning to pick up phones they’d bought as soon as preorders opened on Oct. 27.
First through the doors were Sydneysiders Bishoy Behman, who’d been queuing for a week to buy the iPhone and who livestreamed his walk into the store on his iPhone 8 Plus, and Mazen Kourouche, who came to collect the phone he’d preordered “literally the minute” orders opened last week.
So why buy the iPhone X when you have a weeks-old device in your hand?
“It’s the new iPhone. It’s a new generation,” said Behman. “I’m excited for this. The 8, not so much.”
After buying two 256GB models, Behman leaves the store to immediately sell the second phone, hoping to find an eager buyer at the back of the queue.
“I’ll see how I go,” he says.
A veteran iPhone hypester, Kourouche is also replacing his 8 Plus with an iPhone X, and plans to use the older device to shoot videos for his tech YouTube channel. The 20-year-old software engineering student unwraps his new phone like he’s doing an unboxing (though I’m the only one watching) and proceeds to tell me about the new features.
“The notch doesn’t seem to be intruding,” he says, referring to the black section at the top of the screen. “I’m going to have to get used to no home button.”
Next to him, the second in line for preorders Jesse Goodwin is getting used to the hype. He avoided the Apple store in September and bought his iPhone 8 Plus from his carrier, Telstra, but he’s already sold that to pay for the iPhone X.
The 19-year-old chemistry and Chinese studies student says reselling older devices helps him pay for the latest and greatest model.
“I’m doing a double degree, I don’t have time for a job,” he says. He starts setting up Face ID as we speak, before musing, “When I’m in China, I wear a face mask so I won’t be able to unlock the phone.”
It doesn’t seem to bother him. Before he walks out with his new iPhone in that distinctive Apple goodie bag, he tells me this new phone is “next level.”
Japan was hyped about the iPhone X as well, as lines at the Apple Store in Shibuya district in Tokyo stretched to at least two streets away. Apple has a considerable fanbase in Japan, so it was no surprise to find that there was huge interest in the new phone.
Over in Beijing, queue lines at the Apple Store in Sanlitun weren’t as crazy long as they were in Japan. With five different outlets in China’s capital city, Apple iPhone X buyers were more spread out. Still there was plenty of enthusiasm for the new phone from those in line.
Serial Apple queuer Lloyd Yu, 31, who works at a startup, was first in line since 5 a.m., and got two 256GB iPhone Xs in Space Grey. He already owns an iPhone 8 Plus and wanted to upgrade because he’s a big fan of Apple.
“Everything Apple does, I accept, because everything Apple designs, is the best,” said Yu, adding that he’s also looking to try out Face ID.
Yu, who’s apparently a familiar face to Apple employees, was seen hugging and chatting with staff. By the time he left the store, surprisingly, the queue lines seemed to have grown larger compared to earlier in the morning, a response that’s considerably better than Apple’s iPhone 8 lacklustre launch.
First published Nov. 3 at 3:38 p.m. PT.
Update, 7:07 p.m.: Adds material from Japan and China.
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