Long lines are back at Apple retail stores for the iPhone X

By: |
Published: November 2, 2017 11:13:01 PM

Giant crowds and long lines surrounded Apple’s retail stores in Singapore, Japan, and Australia.

Apple retail stores, iPhone X, Singapore, Japan, Australia, Orchard Road store SingaporeGiant crowds and long lines surrounded Apple’s retail stores in Singapore, Japan, and Australia. (Reuters)

Long lines have already begun to form outside Apple Inc. stores around the world, a sign of strong demand for the company’s 10th anniversary model iPhone X, its most important product launch in years. Beginning Thursday night locally, giant crowds and long lines surrounded Apple’s retail stores in Singapore, Japan, and Australia, recalling the throngs that formed on the first day of iPhone sales on June 29, 2007. One big difference is the price: the iPhone X starts at $999, double the $499 entry-level price of the first version. Videos and photos published on Twitter show security guards sectioning off those waiting in line outside Apple’s Orchard Road store in Singapore. In Sydney, fans set up lawn chairs while others sold their spots in line just hours before the phone goes on sale in the region. Lines outside Tokyo’s Ginza Apple Store already snake down the block.

Apple is known for creating hype around each new iPhone launch. But in recent years, online pre-orders and other buying options reduced store lines. This year, Apple has marketed the iPhone X heavily, and new features like facial recognition and an edge-to-edge screen are stoking demand. Concern about limited initial supplies of the phone may also have drawn shoppers to Apple stores on launch day. In an announcement last month, Apple encouraged those without reservations to “arrive early,” an indication of its anticipated crowds. The company said demand for the iPhone X in pre-orders was “off the charts.” Apple reports its quarterly earnings after U.S. markets close on Thursday, and executives may comment on the launch weekend. Apple stopped reporting opening weekend iPhone sales with the iPhone 7, citing demand that far outstripped supply. However, the company hasn’t indicated if it will follow that trend with the iPhone X (it didn’t report opening weekend numbers for the iPhone 8 last month). The company’s strongest weekend launch was the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in 2015, which saw more than 13 million units sold over the initial days.

In the past few weeks, Apple launched video advertisements, put posters on the walls of its retail store chain, and has replaced its web homepage with pictures of the sleek, new device. When the phone became available online last week for pre-orders, people around the world went to drastic measures to secure one, staying up all night armed with multiple devices ready to place an order at midnight California time. Many were disappointed when they found that instead of receiving their phone Nov. 3, they’d have to wait in to December, as the initial stock sold out in most major cities within half an hour. Those hoping for a second-chance, by walking in to an Apple store on Friday, face lines the likes of which haven’t been seen in many years. But some online customers got good news today: Some orders originally scheduled for delivery in the middle of November are seeing shipment notifications indicating that their devices will arrive early next week. Waiting times for new iPhone X orders also improved on Thursday, with the shipping time changing to three-to-four weeks from five-to-six weeks on Apple’s online stores in the U.K., Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, and Greater China. Shipping times remain five-to-six weeks in the U.S. and Canada, while Hong Kong still lists online orders as “unavailable.”

Early iPhone launches were legendary for the lawn chairs and sleeping bags positioned outside stores as people came from near and far to get their hands on the latest model. But enthusiasm faded in recent years, and for the iPhone 7 in 2016 lines were relatively small. Gene Munster, a longtime Apple analyst and co-founder of Loup Ventures, said the queue outside the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan last year was the smallest since the iPhone 3GS went on sale in 2009. Stores will likely sell out of the iPhone X quickly, in part because of pent-up demand. Many people eschewed the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which came out in September, waiting for the snazzier iPhone X, one of the most exhaustive overhauls of the phone ever. During the first four days of availability online, the iPhone X got more than double the number of pre-orders than the last major iPhone revamp, the iPhone 6, from 2014, according to data from Slice Intelligence. Apple has struggled to get the iPhone X to the market on time and some analysts have warned that there may still be too few iPhone Xs to meet initial demand. The Cupertino, California, technology giant introduced the iPhone X in September, nearly two months before the release. That’s the longest period of time between a new iPhone’s introduction and its sale date since the six-month waiting period between the original iPhone’s debut and launch date in 2007.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition