Apple fans who waited at the Palo Alto store overnight for the release of the much-anticipated $999 iPhone X were rewarded Friday morning when chief executive Tim Cook made an appearance.
Cook, who has described the companies latest gadget as the ‘biggest leap forward since the original iPhone,’ surprised groupies who waited overnight to get their hands on the high-end device.
He even took a moment to sign a few lucky fans’ iPhone boxes.
Fans lined up through the night at stores around the country to buy the phone – and those who were able to buy one will be pleased to know they are sitting on potential gold mines, with some devices already being auctioned off oneBay for up to $18,000.
The X is Apple’s next generation smartphone that uses facial recognition software for the first time and is on sale today in cities around the world – with queues building at Apple Stores amid rumors of limited stock.
And sales had Wall Street booming as shares hit an all-time high on Friday morning as optimistic reviews poured in about how the X would make this quarter’s earnings soar.
The company took a major step forward to becoming a trillion dollar company after the tech giant reported a blowout fourth quarter and got ready to start selling their brand-new products.
At least five brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, with Canaccord Genuity making the most bullish move by raising its price target by $15 to $195. The median price target on the stock is $180.
With Canaccord’s move, five Wall Street analysts now have target prices for Apple that put its market value above $1 trillion.
In New York people brought sleeping bags so they could wait in lines that wrapped around city blocks overnight for the release of the phone.
‘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 walk into Apple’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.
‘I’ve been in these lines maybe five or six times for previous launches and it´s just so much more than when a UPS guy delivers.’
And in the rest of the major American cities people followed suit, some even getting creative and bringing with them air mattresses or folding chairs so they could rest their feet (or maybe take a nap) during their wait.
The record-long lines signaled stronger demand for the 10th anniversary version of the premium smartphone than the last two iterations.
While many waited for hours in technology hub San Francisco – some may have been in vane as thieves snatched hundreds of new iPhones off of a delivery truck outside Stonestown Mall, according to KPIX.
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 in the United States.
The handset features an edge-to-edge display designed for deeper color rendition and an innovative camera that uses facial recognition to unlock and operate the phone.
Conspiracy theorists might suspect that Apple is artificially reducing supply to generate buzz, but analysts say the real reason is that Apple’s suppliers so far haven’t been able to manufacture the iPhone X quickly enough.
The new phone will be the first iPhone to use FaceID, facial recognition software used to unlock the device while also removing the Home button for the first time to make way for a larger, OLED screen.
One of the iPhone X’s key new features is Animoji, which lets you turn your face – captured by the new face recognition camera – into an animated character, such as a panda or even a poo.
Making the iPhone X is proving to be a challenge because it boasts a color-popping OLED screen, which isn’t as readily available as standard LCD displays in other iPhone models.
The new iPhone also requires more sophisticated components to power the facial-recognition technology for unlocking the device. Even with the iPhone X’s delayed release, Apple is still struggling to catch up.
Apple is now giving delivery times of five to six weeks for those ordering in advance online. Limited supplies will be available in Apple stores for the formal release Friday.
‘The Super Bowl for Apple is the iPhone X,’ GBH analyst Daniel Ives said. ‘That is the potential game changer.’
In Hong Kong, buyers who had pre-ordered the phone online queued to pick up their new purchases, saying they were willing to pay for what they saw as a landmark model.
‘It’s the 10th anniversary phone – anyway, other phones like the Samsung are not much less,’ said banker Tony Yeung, 35, as he queued outside the Apple store in Hong Kong’s Festival Walk mall. ‘It’s convenient. You can unlock the phone just by holding it up to your face in bed after you wake up.’
He bought two of the 64 GB version, costing HK$8,588 ($1,100) each, one for him and one for his wife. The 256 GB model costs HK$9,888 ($1,250).
In Australia, around 400 people queued outside Apple’s flagship store in central Sydney to pay A$1,579 ($1,200) for the 10th anniversary model, a glass-and-stainless-steel device that Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook billed as ‘the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone.’
‘It’s beautiful bro, what a feeling, I’m excited,’ builder Bishoy Behman, 18, said after picking up two iPhone X as the first in line. He said he camped outside the store for a week before paying to improve his place in the queue overnight.
In Apple’s Omotesando store in Tokyo, some 550 people were waiting in a line stretching to around 600 meters.
‘I’m going home, and after having a rest, I’d like to have fun (with the phone),’ said first-in-line Yamaura, a 21-year-old college student who spent six days in the queue.
In Singapore, two tourists from Thailand – which is not an initial launch market – were the first to receive pre-ordered phones at a flagship store in the Orchard shopping district.
But China iPhone sales have sagged in recent years as consumers switch to cheaper phones, while China becoming a launch market has hit demand for Hong Kong handsets.
‘It is getting harder and harder for us to scalp iPhones. It is not the same as before,’ said Ms Zhou.