NEW YORK: Shoppers surged into Apple stores across the world yesterday to buy the new iPhone X, signalling stronger demand for the 10th anniversary version of the premium smartphone than the last two iterations.
Investors and analysts took the swell of interest, alongside the company’s better-than-expected sales forecast for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as signs that Apple could be the first ever company worth $1 trillion.
Apple’s shares rose three per cent yesterday, hitting a record high and giving the world’s most valuable publicly traded company a market capitalisation of almost $890 billion.
“I can’t wait to get to my office and plug it in, back it up and play around with it,” said Jordan Shapiro, a 34-year-old recruiter from New Jersey who was one of the first to get into Apple’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, at the head of a line that stretched for a block.
Jasmine Rivera, a 16-year-old from Las Vegas, said getting one of the new phones was the highlight of her New York trip with her aunt.
“I’m so excited and can’t wait to show this to my friends,” she said. “I’m especially excited about the camera quality and facial recognition.”
The glass-and-stainless-steel device that Apple chief executive Tim Cook has billed as “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone,” starts at $999 in the US.
The handset features an edge-to-edge display designed for deeper colour rendition and an innovative camera that uses facial recognition to unlock and operate the phone.
Cook appeared on TV greeting the first customers in line at the company’s store in Palo Alto, California, about a half-hour drive from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.
In nearby San Francisco, about 250 people lined up outside the Apple store in the Union Square shopping district.
In Australia, around 400 people queued outside Apple’s main store in central Sydney to pay $1,218 for the new phone. Just 30 turned up for the September release of the iPhone 8, an incremental update of the iPhone 7.
“It’s beautiful bro, what a feeling, I’m excited,” builder Bishoy Behman, 18, said after picking up two iPhone X as the first in line. He said he camped outside the store for a week before paying to improve his place in the queue overnight.
In Apple’s Omotesando store in Tokyo, some 550 people were waiting in a line stretching to around 600 metres.
“I’m going home, and after having a rest, I’d like to have fun (with the phone),” said first-in-line Yamaura, a 21-year-old college student who spent six days in the queue.
In Europe, Apple stores in Amsterdam, Berlin and London saw lines of several hundred fans, while smaller, more subdued crowds were observed at stores in Frankfurt and Paris.
Arbitrage traders were also in line in an attempt to take advantage of the strong demand. In Hong Kong, some buyers quickly resold iPhone X handsets for a profit, but the resale premium eased as waiting times fell and supply concerns eased.
Newly purchased iPhone X were reselling for $1,512 soon after sales began, but the price quickly fell. In mainland China – where Hong Kong traders often sell newly purchased goods – the anniversary model’s starting price is $1,267.
Analysts had expressed concern that supply issues might stop Apple satisfying early demand. The camera, for instance, has never before been manufactured in the volume Apple demands.
But chief financial officer Luca Maestri said that Apple was “quite happy” with how manufacturing of the iPhone X was progressing. “Production is growing every week, and that’s very important during a ramp period,” he said.