iPhone X goes on sale, bringing out the true Apple superfans

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The iPhone X goes on sale in Apple’s Sydney store. 


Claire Reilly/CNET

Production problems? Forget it.

The iPhone 8? A distant memory.

Throwing down more than a grand for the latest and greatest iPhone? That’s what they’re here for.

The iPhone X went on sale around the world on Friday, drawing crowds and long lines as Apple fans patiently waited to get their hands on the very best iPhone money can buy.

And spend money they did. The iPhone X (that’s pronounced “ten” not “ex”) just scrapes in under 1K in the US and UK, with a starting price of $999 and £999, respectively.

But in Australia, one of the first countries in the world to start selling the device, that price goes up to AU$1,579. And if you want the larger 256GB capacity, you’ll spend a whopping AU$1,879. (That’s $1,149 or £1,149 in the US and UK.)

This second launch, which comes more than a month after the launch of the iPhone 8, is the latest wrinkle in the annual gathering of Apple fanboys, gadget enthusiasts and publicity seekers. Apple’s decision to stagger the launches presented consumers with the dilemma of buying the more readily available iPhone 8 immediately, or holding out for the supposedly supply-constrained iPhone X.

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Staff wait for crowds to come in to the Apple Store in Sydney on iPhone X launch day. 


Claire Reilly

To the people who showed up today, there was no question which iPhone won out.

They turned out in droves, despite (or maybe because of) early murmurings of production delays and reports that Apple might only ship half the number of devices it originally planned.

For many, it’s the only way to get the device on launch day, with pre-orders for the Nov. 3 shipping date selling out in as little as 10 minutes. Now, customers are facing delays of up to six weeks to get the true flagship Apple phone.

Sydney

At Apple’s flagship Australian store in Sydney — the first store in the world to sell the new iPhone — lines formed early, with early birds queuing since the start of the week to be able to walk straight into the store on Friday to buy the phone.

For those who had preordered, the wait was much more civilised, with buyers queuing from Friday morning to pick up phones they’d bought as soon as preorders opened on Oct. 27.

First through the doors were Sydneysiders Bishoy Behman, who’d been queuing for a week to buy the iPhone and who livestreamed his walk into the store on his iPhone 8 Plus, and Mazen Kourouche, who came to collect the phone he’d preordered “literally the minute” orders opened last week.

So why buy the iPhone X when you have a weeks-old device in your hand?

“It’s the new iPhone. It’s a new generation,” said Behman. “I’m excited for this. The 8, not so much.”

After buying two 256GB models, Behman leaves the store to immediately sell the second phone, hoping to find an eager buyer at the back of the queue.

“I’ll see how I go,” he says. 

A veteran iPhone hypester, Kourouche is also replacing his 8 Plus with an iPhone X, and plans to use the older device to shoot videos for his tech YouTube channel. The 20-year-old software engineering student unwraps his new phone like he’s doing an unboxing (though I’m the only one watching) and proceeds to tell me about the new features.

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The Apple Store in Sydney is the first in the world to open its doors. First through the door, Bishoy Behman shows off his two 256GB iPhone X phones. 


Claire Reilly/CNET

“The notch doesn’t seem to be intruding,” he says, referring to the black section at the top of the screen. “I’m going to have to get used to no home button.”

Next to him, the second in line for preorders Jesse Goodwin is getting used to the hype. He avoided the Apple store in September and bought his iPhone 8 Plus from his carrier, Telstra, but he’s already sold that to pay for the iPhone X.

The 19-year-old chemistry and Chinese studies student says reselling older devices helps him pay for the latest and greatest model.

“I’m doing a double degree, I don’t have time for a job,” he says. He starts setting up Face ID as we speak, before musing, “When I’m in China, I wear a face mask so I won’t be able to unlock the phone.” 

It doesn’t seem to bother him. Before he walks out with his new iPhone in that distinctive Apple goodie bag, he tells me this new phone is “next level.”

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