Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Apple’s iPhone X sales launched in Asia stores

REINVENTION:People have queued for the new handset, which features facial ID, a feature some users said would make handset use easier, while others expressed concerns

AFP, HONG KONG

People queue in the street awaiting the sale start of Apple’s iPhone X at an Apple store in Sydney yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Apple’s flagship iPhone X yesterday hit stores in Asia, as the world’s most valuable company predicted bumper sales despite the handset’s eye-watering price tag and celebrated a surge in profits.

The device 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 was released in about 50 markets around the world yesterday. The launch came as Apple announced its net profit rose 19 percent from a year ago to US$10.7 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter to Sept. 30. Revenues were up 12 percent to US$52.6 billion.

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.

Inside the Hong Kong store, those still considering whether to buy were trying out facial recognition after concerns it might compromise the security of the phone.

Nam So, 36, said he was happy to use it, preferring it to touch ID, which opens the phone at the touch of a finger.

“If your thumb is sweaty then it won’t unlock. Face ID would solve this problem,” he said.

Hours after the launch, resellers at the Sin Tat Plaza mall in Hong Kong’s commercial Mong Kok district were offering the phone at a marked up price of HK$11,500 (US$1,474).

About 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.

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 revenue.

At one of Shanghai’s largest Apple outlets, buyers said the facial recognition and screen design were reasons they were happy to pay a hefty price.

“I get a new phone every year when it launches new products. This time, there are many changes, but I feel like the price is acceptable,” said Wu Yi, 27.

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

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

Smartphone sales climbed by about 1 million units to 46.7 million in the three months winding up the California company’s fiscal year, the earnings report said.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook called it a “very strong finish” to the year.

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