Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Apple iPhone 8 has a muted launch in Asia

Fans are seemingly holding out for the premium iPhone X due in early November

Apple's launch of iPhone 8 kicked off in a less lively mood in Asia, as fans held out for the premium iPhone X due out in early November.

Hundreds usually gather at Apple's Sydney city store with queues winding down the town's George Street when there is a new product release. But there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday, according to a Reuters witness.

While the number of people queuing up outside Apple stores have dropped over the years with many opting for online purchases, the weak turn-out for the latest iPhone has partly been due to poor reviews.

Mazen Kourouche, who was first in queue after lining up 11 days outside the store so he could buy and review the product on YouTube, said there were modest refinements.

Read more: Apple iPhone X launch: facial-recognition and a brand new look

"[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 said. "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 purchased the new device.

"I waited until midnight to watch the launch event with my boyfriend to learn what's new with this iPhone. Its photograph function is pretty good. So I think I must change with no hesitation," said 29-year-old Ta Na in Shanghai.

Mentions of iPhone 8 and iPhone X on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo, an indicator of consumer interest, were less than levels seen before the previous two launches.

Poor 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 US$152.75 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 US$999 for the iPhone X, said iTWire.com's technology editor Alex Zaharov-Reutt, who did not line up for the launch.

Comment: $999 for an iPhone X? Where do I sign?

The iPhone X is a glass and stainless steel device with an edge-to-edge display that chief executive Tim Cook has called "the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone".

"I think it'll be more lively with more people with the iPhone X," said Ray Yokoyama, after buying an iPhone 8 in Tokyo.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus hits UAE stores tomorrow.

Updated: September 22, 2017 01:34 PM