iPhone X goes on sale, bringing out the true Apple superfans

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The iPhone X goes on sale in Apple’s Sydney store. 


Claire Reilly/CNET

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.


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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.

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Staff wait for crowds to come in to the Apple Store in Sydney on iPhone X launch day. 


Claire Reilly

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 ship only 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.

Sydney

Apple’s flagship Australian store in Sydney was the first in the world to sell the new iPhone, and early birds were queuing since the start of the week to be able to buy it off the shelf. 

First through the doors were Sydneysiders Bishoy Behman, who’d been queuing for a week to buy the iPhone and who livestreamed the event on his iPhone 8 Plus, and Mazen Kourouche, who queued from Friday morning after preordering “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, who bought one 256GB iPhone X for himself and one to sell. “I’m excited for this. The 8, not so much.”

A software engineering student and part-time tech blogger, Kourouche did an unboxing for me in the store.

“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, 19-year-old Chinese studies student Jesse Goodwin plays with the Face ID he’s just set up, but he has some doubts.

“When I’m in China, I wear a face mask so I won’t be able to unlock the phone.” 

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A huge crowd gathered outside the Apple Store in Shibuya, Tokyo, with queues for the iPhone X stretching at least two streets away.


Huang Shuxian for CNET

Japan

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.

China 

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.

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A modest queue waits outside the Apple Store for the iPhone X launch in Beijing.


Aloysius Low/CNET

Singapore

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of Apple fans in Singapore, who queued to buy the iPhone X from the sole Apple store in South East Asia. 

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The first buyers in Singapore were two 22 year-old students who flew in from Bangkok, Thailand, after preordering online.


Zoey Chong/CNET

Queues started early, with 52 year-old Singaporean homemaker Ala Ahmed telling CNET she’d been waiting since 6.30 a.m. Thursday to get four iPhones for her son and his friends who were away serving their national service. 

But others came from much further afield. Kittiwat Wang and Supakorn Rieksiri, two 22-year-old students from Bangkok, Thailand, preordered their iPhones online and flew to Singapore to pick them up. The two friends said devices get to Singapore much earlier than Thailand, making it worth the short flight.

Further down the queue, student Christine Nguyen, also 22, came from Vietnam with four friends for launch day, saying she’d waited for the iPhone X because the iPhone 8 hadn’t seemed too different from earlier models.

First published Nov. 3 at 3:38 p.m. PT.

Update, 7:07 p.m. PT: Adds material from Japan and China.

Update, 9:51 p.m. PT: Adds material from Singapore.  

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