Apple’s launch of the iPhone 8 has kicked off with less fanfare than new models in previous years in the US, Australia, Asia and Britain, as fans held out for the premium iPhone X, due out in early November.
In San Francisco’s Union Square, 80km from Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, just 80 people were lined up at the company’s flagship store, a sharp contrast to years past when lines stretched for blocks when new products were released.
In Australia, hundreds of people usually gather at Apple’s Sydney city store, with queues winding down George Street in the central business district. But there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday.
Apple’s flagship store in London’s Regent Street also experienced a slim turnout, according to several British newspapers.
The weak turnout for the latest iPhone has partly been due to poor reviews.
Mazen Kourouche, who was first in queue in Sydney so he could buy and review the product on YouTube, said there were modest refinements.
“(It) is pretty similar to the iPhone 7 but it shoots 4k 60 frames per second and it’s got a new glass back instead of the metal which is apparently more durable,” he sais. “There aren’t too many new features to this one.”
In China, a loyal Apple customer said the improved camera was one of the reasons she had bought the new device.
In San Francisco, customers waiting in line were evenly split between those interested in the iPhone 8 and those looking to buy the Apple Watch Series 3. The latest watch includes standalone cellular data connectivity for the first time, meaning it can be used to make phone calls without an iPhone nearby.
Chayce O’Neal, 27, said he had come to buy the new watch and wasn’t discouraged by reviews that mentioned connectivity problems. But he was skipping the iPhone 8 and holding out for the iPhone X.
“I like being on top of the cutting edge of technology,” he said.
Indifferent reviews of the iPhone 8, which comes 10 years after Apple released the first version of the revolutionary phone, drove down shares of the company to near two-month lows of $US152.75 on Thursday, as investors worried pre-orders for the device had come in well below previous launches.
The iPhone 8 will only cater to those who want a new version but do not want to pay a hefty $US999 ($A1,254) for the iPhone X, said iTWire南京夜生活,’s technology editor Alex Zaharov-Reutt.
Speaking to CNBC, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the Apple Watch with cellular data service is “sold out in so many places around the world” and iPhone 8 models were also sold out. He did not specify the locations he was referring to.