There was eager anticipation in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, for the new iPhone 15 on Friday, with a crowd of customers lining up at Apple’s flagship store to collect the new smartphone on the first day it became available.
The launch of Apple’s latest iPhone is being closely watched for two reasons. The first is news earlier this month that some government staff in China were prevented using iPhones at work.
The second reason is the release of a high-end rival from domestic manufacturer Huawei, which sparked concern about demand for the device in Apple’s third-largest market.
But the strength of pre-orders in China, which began last Friday, has eased worries, with delivery times pushed to November and the premium iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max selling out in just one minute on Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce site.
Local media reported the queue at the store on Shanghai’s East Nanjing road shopping belt started forming at 5am (1000 GMT).
Among those at the store was social media influencer Zhang Ming, 25, who said she wanted to try out the iPhone 15 after being unsuccessful in pre-ordering online.
“I always like to look (at the new devices). When I buy Apple products I only look at the colour. If I like the colour I will buy it,” she said.
The iPhone 15 includes a new titanium shell, a faster chip and improved videogame-playing abilities. Apple also surprised by not raising prices, reflecting the global smartphone slump.
But some customers at the store lamented the lack of significant upgrades from the previous model. Real estate worker Wang Puyu, 29, said he was only purchasing a new model because he had promised to give his iPhone 14 to his nephew.
“I normally upgrade every year. But this year, I am not very satisfied.”
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard