Dubai: About 400-500 people, including pre-ordered and walk-in customers, queued outside Apple store at Dubai Mall early on Friday to be among the first to buy the most expensive iPhone - iPhone X.
After facing a muted response to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus globally, the demand for iPhone X has outstripped supply on the launch day itself.
According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus had accounted for 43 per cent of launch quarter sales while iPhone 8 and 8 Plus just accounted for 16 per cent of sales. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus accounted for 24 per cent of sales and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus accounted for 58 per cent of sales in the quarter so far.
Several media reports have claimed that Apple is facing a huge supply gap due to difficulties in assembling the facial recognition software and the 3D camera.
Pinkesh Jaswani, who has been waiting from 2PM on Thursday, was so keen to be the first walk-in customer to get his hands on the phone.
“I am buying two 256GB version of the phones as we need more storage capacity. The iPhone X has new features including facial ID recognition, advanced dual cameras and wireless charging. The phone is amazing,” he said.
Meet the first person to get the iPhoneX in UAE
Here what Pinkesh Jaswani, the first person to get the #iPhoneX in the UAE has to say pic.twitter.com/wsMlXac5wZ— Gulf News Business (@GulfNewsBiz) November 3, 2017
What it’s like to be first person in Dubai to buy the #iPhoneX #celebrity pic.twitter.com/hYNEqPiqwp— Gulf News Business (@GulfNewsBiz) November 3, 2017
The first pre-ordered customer, Amit Gopal, said that he has been waiting for the next-generation iPhone and this is it.
“I skipped the iPhone 8 and was waiting eagerly for this,” he said.
The iPhone X 64GB is priced at Dh4,099 and the 256GB at Dh4.729.
Say Hello to Amit Gopal - The first person to purchase their #iPhoneX online receiving his device. pic.twitter.com/gA7q0NKIzx— Gulf News Business (@GulfNewsBiz) November 3, 2017
The anniversary edition iPhone X is the first major redesign in years with an almost edge-to-edge screen, facial recognition technology and wireless charging. It became available to pre-order on October 27 but was sold out soon. There’s currently an estimated delivery wait of three-to-four weeks in the UAE.
The crowd this morning at the Dubai Mall #Apple Store for the launch of the #iPhoneX pic.twitter.com/sBpj0rx7Pc— Gulf News Business (@GulfNewsBiz) November 3, 2017
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, well-known for accurate reporting on Apple’s supply chain, was quoted in media reports that Apple will have no more than three million iPhone X units for the launch.
A story in Nikkei Asian Review claimed that Apple’s annual output was expected to be just 20 million units, half of what it had initially planned.
Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner, told Gulf News that the muted demand for iPhone 8 devices was due to the fact that customers wanted to see and experience the iPhone X and then take a decision.
Overall, he sees a good demand for all iPhones put together.
“The paced launch of iPhones has caused some delayed demand for iPhone 8 models in the market. The fourth-quarter sales of iPhones will be slightly lower than a year ago, lesser than we expected earlier. Apple will work out the supply issues once it starts selling the most expensive iPhone,” he said.
Gartner believes that some of the demand will move to the first quarter of next year. As the iPhone X starts selling, the demand for iPhone 8 models will also pick up.
Industry experts said that the new iPhones are a psychologically important one for Apple after sales declined in 2016 for the first time. Apple sold 212 million units in 2016 compared to 231.22 in 2015. As of now, Apple has sold 216.75 million units. Apple is expected to close the year at 221 million units.
In the period ending September 30, Apple sold 46.7 million iPhones, an increase of three per cent compared to 45.51 million a year ago.