Fans throng Apple stores across Asia for launch of iPhone X

Apple's flagship iPhone X hit stores in Asia on Friday (Nov 3), with the company predicting bumper sales despite its eye-watering price tag.

Around 300 customers waited overnight outside Singapore's Apple store, Southeast Asia's first to sell the new model AFP/ROSLAN RAHMAN

Around 300 customers waited overnight outside Singapore's Apple store, the first shop in Southeast Asia to sell the new model.

Supakorn Rieksiri and Kittiwat Wang, both 22, said they had flown in from Bangkok on Thursday to pick up pre-orders of two phones each. 

"With all the different features like facial recognition and the bigger screen, it's all quite worth it," said Rieksiri, adding that the second handset was a gift for his mother.

In Hong Kong, buyers who had pre-ordered the phone online queued to pick up their new purchases, saying they were willing to pay for what they saw as a landmark model.

"It's the 10th anniversary phone - anyway, other phones like the Samsung are not much less," said banker Tony Yeung, 35, as he queued outside the Apple store in Hong Kong's Festival Walk mall.

"It's convenient. You can unlock the phone just by holding it up to your face in bed after you wake up," Yeung added.

He said he had bought two of the 64GB version, costing HK$8,588 (US$1,100), one for himself and one for his wife. The 256GB model costs HK$9,888.

Apple is setting an ambitious goal for itself to reinvent the smartphone as it strives to fend off fierce competition from rivals, especially in China AFP/FRED DUFOUR

Student Keith Li said all his friends were changing to the new phone and had set aside money for it. Li, 22, had traded in his old phone to help him meet the cost.

The flagship handset features facial recognition, cordless charging and an edge-to-edge screen made of organic light-emitting diodes used in high-end televisions.

It marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release and hits about 50 markets around the world Friday.

APPLE PROFITS, SHARE PRICE SOAR

Apple said on Friday its net profit rose 19 per cent from a year ago to US$10.7 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter to Sep 30. Revenues were up 12 per cent to US$52.6 billion.

Release of the earnings figures pushed Apple shares up more than 3 per cent to US$173.20.

Apple is setting an ambitious goal for itself to reinvent the smartphone as it strives to fend off fierce competition from rivals, especially in China.

The iPhone is its main profit driver, accounting for more than half its revenues. 

Apple closed out its fiscal year posting a full-year profit of US$48.35 billion, up 5.8 per cent, on revenues of US$229 billion, a rise of 6.3 per cent from the previous year.

In the latest quarter the firm was able to reverse its fortunes in China, boosting overall sales by 12 per cent in the Greater China region. Sales were up in other regions except for Japan, which saw an 11 per cent revenue drop.

Smartphone sales climbed by about a million units to 46.7 million in the three months winding up the California company's fiscal year, according to the earnings report.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook called it a "very strong finish" to 2017.

Source AFP