Man flies in from India, queues 13hrs for iPhone 8

Mr Amin Ahmed Dholiya was first in the queue, having arrived at the store at around 7pm on Thursday. It was his first time queueing overnight for something, he said. He returned home last night. The queue outside Apple Orchard Road at 7.32am yesterda
The queue outside Apple Orchard Road at 7.32am yesterday. By 8am, there were some 200 people in the queue, with many foreigners among them. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were the first major products launched at the store since it opened in May.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Mr Amin Ahmed Dholiya was first in the queue, having arrived at the store at around 7pm on Thursday. It was his first time queueing overnight for something, he said. He returned home last night. The queue outside Apple Orchard Road at 7.32am yesterda
Mr Amin Ahmed Dholiya was first in the queue, having arrived at the store at around 7pm on Thursday. It was his first time queueing overnight for something, he said. He returned home last night. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Businessman was first in line outside Apple Orchard Road to buy new phone as wedding gift for daughter

He travelled all the way from India to Singapore, and queued for 13 hours overnight, just to buy his daughter Apple's new iPhone 8 Plus as a wedding gift.

Mr Amin Ahmed Dholiya, 43, was the first in line outside the Apple store in Orchard Road on Thursday at 7pm to get his hands on the new smartphone which hit shelves yesterday.

When the store opened at 8am, there were some 200 people in the queue, with many foreigners among them. The new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus were the first major products launched at the store since it opened in May.

"I will buy two, one for my other daughter. This is my first time queueing overnight for something - I am feeling good now but it will be hard to stand all night," the businessman said on Thursday.

He returned home last night.

Apple on Sept 12 unveiled the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. The new handsets are similar in design to last year's iPhones but sport faster image sensors for photo-taking, faster processors and support for wireless charging.

Singapore consumers will generally prefer to get the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus at a subsidised price with a telco contract, said Ms Kiranjeet Kaur, a senior research manager for client devices at market research firm IDC Asia-Pacific.

Many customers from the three telcos avoided queuing for too long as they could book time slots to collect their new iPhones elsewhere.

But Ms Kaur said that foreigners "have a bigger reason to queue up and buy" at the Apple store here because the new devices have not yet been launched in their countries, and many of them may have to buy the phones without contract even when the phones are launched back home.

Apple also revealed a 10th anniversary version of the iPhone called the iPhone X, which attracted a lot of attention for its features and higher price.

It has a high-resolution display covering almost the entire front of the device, and a face-recognition feature for unlocking the phone, features not found in the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

But the iPhone X starts from $1,648 without contract. It goes on sale here on Nov 3. The iPhone 8 starts from $1,148 without contract, while the 8 Plus starts from $1,308.

"The iPhone X could have drawn all the attention," said Ms Kaur. "But for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus' price, availability and changes, many Apple fans will likely upgrade to these latest phones."

Mr Kim Joonki, 34, a South Korean PhD student at the National University Singapore who got an iPhone 8 Plus at Apple Orchard Road, said he did not intend to get the iPhone X. "The major reason is the price," he said. "It's too expensive, considering the new features in the iPhone 8 devices."

• Additional reporting by Raffaella Nathan Charles

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Man flies in from India, queues 13hrs for iPhone 8'. Print Edition | Subscribe