NEW YORK/FRANKFURT - Shoppers surged into Apple stores across the world on Friday to buy the new iPhone X, signaling stronger demand for the 10th anniversary version of the premium smartphone than the last two iterations.
Investors and analysts took the swell of interest, alongside the company’s better-than-expected sales forecast for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as signs that Apple could be the first ever company worth $1 trillion.
Apple’s shares rose 3 percent on Friday, hitting a record high and giving the world’s most valuable publicly traded company a market capitalisation of almost $890 billion.
“I can’t wait to get to my office and plug it in, back it up and play around with it,” said Jordan Shapiro, a 34-year-old recruiter from New Jersey who was one of the first to get into Apple’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, at the head of a line that stretched for a block.
Jasmine Rivera, a 16-year-old from Las Vegas, said getting one of the new phones was the highlight of her New York trip with her aunt.
“I’m so excited and can’t wait to show this to my friends,” she said. “I’m especially excited about the camera quality and facial recognition.”
The glass-and-stainless-steel device that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has billed as “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone,” starts at $999 (R14,200) in the United States.
The handset features an edge-to-edge display designed for deeper colour rendition and an innovative camera that uses facial recognition to unlock and operate the phone.
Cook appeared on TV greeting the first customers in line at the company’s store in Palo Alto, California, about a half-hour drive from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.
In nearby San Francisco, about 250 people lined up outside the Apple store in the Union Square shopping district.
“I’m feeling good, but my socks are wet,” said Ross Hendrix, 20, one of the first in line after camping out on the sidewalk despite a light rain on Thursday night.
Similar scenes of excitement occurred earlier in the day in Asia and Europe.
In Australia, around 400 people queued outside Apple’s main store in central Sydney for the new phone. Just 30 turned up for the September release of the iPhone 8, an incremental update of the iPhone 7.
In Apple’s Omotesando store in Tokyo, some 550 people were waiting in a line stretching to around 600 meters.
In Europe, Apple stores in Amsterdam, Berlin and London saw lines of several hundred fans, while smaller, more subdued crowds were observed at stores in Frankfurt and Paris.