SYDNEY, Australia, Sept 16 – Apple’s iPhone 7 launch generated trademark queues and brisk sales Friday that defied gloomy expectations, with some enthusiasts left empty-handed after lining up for hours as the company announced certain models had sold out.
The new phone comes with an improved camera, no headphone jack, and a water resistant body as the US tech giant seeks to reverse declines in sales amid increased competition.
There has been much chatter among Apple fans since the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were unveiled about the groundbreaking lack of a headphone jack but on Friday most talk focused on supply issues.
On Thursday, Apple shares finished up 3.4 percent at $115.56 as reports pointed to the iPhone 7 being already sold out in pre-orders ahead of its debut in stores.
As Asia woke up, consumers in Sydney who had camped out in the rain were among the first in the world to get their hands on the new phones — though others were left bitterly disappointed.
Bishoy Behman, 17, had been sitting outside the Apple store since Wednesday morning but said he and others in the queue found out on Thursday that there would be no available iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 7 in jet black as they had already sold out via pre-orders.
“I really wouldn’t have lined up if I had known that,” he told AFP, as he had wanted the iPhone 7 Plus.
“For them to have not allocated some stock is ridiculous.”
Ahead of Friday’s launch, Apple released a statement saying the two sold-out models would “not be available for walk-in customers”.
“We sincerely appreciate our customers’ patience as we work hard to get the new iPhone into the hands of everyone who wants one as quickly as possible,” it said.
Several local mobile phone operators in Singapore also said the iPhone 7 in jet black and the iPhone 7 Plus were out of stock “due to high demand”.
And in Tokyo, student Rei Yokoyama, who queued in front of a store from 4 am, was unable to get an iPhone 7 Plus.
“I’d like to try the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus, though today it was sold out so I got the iPhone 7,” he told AFP.
Robert W. Baird senior research analyst Will Power told CNBC Thursday that it appeared the iPhone 7 would be more popular than anticipated.
“There does seem to be an element of under-promising and over-delivering, at least with respect to initial expectations,” he said.
Apple has said it will not provide figures for launch weekend sales as it has in the past.
In Hong Kong, some customers stood near the Apple store in the Causeway Bay shopping district, reselling new phones at a profit.
“The demand is not as strong as it was with the last model,” a reseller who declined to give his name told AFP, adding however that there were people looking to buy the rare jet black models.