iPhone X: thousands queue as Apple proves it still has the X factor:
Demand for the £999 ‘future’ of the iPhone bucks the trend of recent years, with large crowds and some fans queuing for days to get their hands on one
Thousands of people formed queues outside stores in London, Tokyo, Sydney and around the world on Friday as eager buyers tried to get their hands on Apple’s most expensive smartphone to date, the hotly anticipated £999 iPhone X.
Bucking the downward trend of recent times, iPhone X has managed to revive the fervour and excitement of the long, overnight queues associated with the launch of a new Apple smartphone, which had all but died with the last few iterations.
Reality TV star Marco Pierre White Jr, son of the celebrity chef, was among those in the queue outside Apple’s Regent Street store in London, having camped out overnight to be one of the first in line to buy devices for him and a friend.
An 18-year-old builder, Bishoy Behman, camped outside the central Sydney Apple Store for a week, before paying to improve his spot in the queue overnight and be first in the 400-strong line. He said: “It’s beautiful bro, what a feeling, I’m excited.”
“I’m going home, and after having a rest, I’d like to have fun [with the phone],” said 21-year-old college student Yamaura, who spent six days in the queue outside Apple’s Omotesando store in Tokyo to be first in line ahead of some 550 people.
Pre-orders of the iPhone X sold out in minutes a week ago, following speculation around supply constraints that propelled a resale market across eBay and others to a 50% or greater markup. Fears over difficulty in manufacture, with the camera having never been made in the volume required by Apple for instance, could be overblown, according to well-placed industry sources talking to the Guardian.
Supply levels are higher than those for the iPhone 7 a year ago, insiders say, but have still been outstripped by consumer demand that is significantly up on the muted reaction to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus a month ago.
Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight said: “People are excited about the iPhone X as it’s the first time in several years that there’s been a truly new iPhone. In terms of it being a status symbol, of having the latest, greatest and hottest technology in a world where technology is a personal statement about you as an individual, having the iPhone X is what many people will aspire to.
“Apple has taken the potent ingredients of the iPhone brand and technology to once again position this new iPhone as the must-have device of the moment. And it’s all the more remarkable given it’s the highest price we’ve seen for a mobile phone, which makes it a representation of the importance people place on their phone as the most valuable, most loved and used gadget in their lives.”
Apple said that demand for the iPhone X was “off the charts”. Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said: “Production is growing every week, and that’s very, very important during a ramp period.”
The new Apple smartphone, labelled the “future” of the iPhone by chief executive Tim Cook, features a new design, swapping the home button and fingerprint scanner for a full-screen design and facial recognition technology. Early reviews have said that Face ID works better than expected, compared to rival facial recognition systems. The new stainless steel and glass, all-screen design is seen as a significant step forward for a company that has been criticised as resting on its laurels by using the same iPhone blueprint for four years.
Talking ahead of the iPhone X going on sale, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said: “I’m happy with my iPhone 8 — which is the same as the iPhone 7, which is the same as the iPhone 6, to me.”
The iPhone X marks an important milestone for Apple, coming a decade after the release of the original iPhone, the product that powered the company’s rise to become the world’s biggest technology firm, with a market capitalisation of $868bn (£665bn).
The company predicted revenue of $80bn (£61.3bn) for the next quarter, suggesting Apple is confident of strong sales, following the equally strong quarterly financial results reported on Thursday night.