Apple Inc fans from Sydney to Shanghai, the first customers worldwide to snap the newoff the shelves, cheered as they left stores on Friday brandishing their purchases, flanked by applauding sales staff.
But underneath the usual fanfare, the crowds of enthusiasts and overnight campers were smaller than in past years. Some customers complained after the larger version and models with the new jet-black colour sold out.
In part, online pre-ordering has made queues unnecessary for all but diehard fans, and in Chinese stores only those who had ordered in advance were queueing to collect.
Yet in markets like China, online interest in the new phone has also been muted compared to past launches, as cheaper local brands amp up their features, design and marketing.
Wu Ting, a 28-year-old from Nanjing, was surprised to find herself first in line at a downtown Apple store in Shanghai on Friday, a holiday in China.
“I found last year that there were crowds of people, but this year almost no one. I came an hour early thinking I’d have to wait a long time before getting seen,” Wu said.