"This Is Embarrassing": 2 People Show Up For iPhone 8 Launch in China -- UPDATE: It's Not Just China: No Lines For New iPhone 8 Virtually Anywhere
Confirming reports that reception for Apple's newly launched iPhone 8 may be "underwhelming" to put it lightly, as the phone provides little if any material improvement over its lower-priced predecessor even as sales for hardcore fans will be cannibalized by the iPhone X, is the following report from Hangzhou, China which shows that all of 2 people were waiting in line for the latest gizmo from Tim Cook.
As Chinese media reports, summarized by David Kersten, "note the barricades for the anticipated queue...
... that had to be put away because only 2 people showed up."
With the iPhone 8 a dud, at least in China, AAPL longs are hoping that the reception for the iPhone X in a few weeks will be notably more enthusiastic, or else Apple may have a major problem on its hands.
It's Not Just China: No Lines For New iPhone 8 Virtually Anywhere
Earlier we showed that in a striking lack of enthusiasm for Apple's latest offering, the iPhone 8 which went on sale today, there were just two people in "line" in front of an Apple store in China: less than the security guards at the same location.
Unfortunately for Tim Cook, it appears that it was not just China as the entire world appears to have gotten collective cold feet when it comes to Apple's newest gizmo, because while Apple Stores are usually faced with shockingly long lines on the morning of a new iPhone launch, that wasn't the case today. Anywhere.
As various reports have pointed out, some Apple Stores have very short lines out front for the iPhone 8, if they have anyone at all. According to Reuters, that there were fewer than 30 people at Apple’s Sydney store, which usually has hundreds out front. And it described a “less lively mood in Asia” than for previous launches.
In California, ABC7 reporter Chelsea Edwards posted a photo from outside of an Apple Store with no one in front of it.
Other photos showed short (or no) lines in Brisbane, London, Leicester, and Ottawa
According to CBS LA, the Pasadena store was also missing a line of eager fans.
Previous releases of the iPhone attracted hundreds of Apple fans waiting in the early morning hours at several stores across Southern California. The Apple Store has a ticketing system, but that never stopped eager iPhone fans from camping out overnight.
But on Friday morning, all was quiet on Colorado Boulevard, except for employees inside the store handing out tickets.
To be sure, some pockets of enthusiasm remained, such as at Apple’s location at the World Trade Center and on Fifth Avenue in New York which did have a line this morning, and there appeared to be a big turnout in Singapore.
As we commented earlier, and the Verge adds, there are reasons this launch might not be getting as much turnout. For one, this is the 10th generation of the iPhone, and hype has probably just died down. People are no longer lining up to buy their first or second smartphone, and this year’s model doesn’t have any revolutionary new features that people are willing to wait overnight for.
Furthermore, in November Apple is launching the next "revolutionary" iPhone — the iPhone X — not the iterative update that’s coming out today. It’s the same reason there wasn’t a rush for the iPhone SE, either.
More concerning is that there are signs that the iPhone X is cutting into iPhone 8 online orders, too. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s retail leader, said “it’s kind of our fault” that lines are going away, because Apple gives customers a choice of where to buy their phone, online or in person. That’s been true for years, though. BuzzFeed also says it saw short lines in Toronto, London, and Los Angeles.
While it is too early to conclude if the sudden disappearance of customers is troubling for Apple's future says, it is hardly the reception Tim Cook - who carefully cultivates the image of pent up demand by parading the lines of people greeting its every product launch - wanted. Still, more important will be what happens outside Apple stores on November 3rd, when the iPhone X comes out, although with concerns mounting about the public's receptivity to the phone's face-scanning technology which has already received scathing criticism among even pro-Apple outlets, some investors are unwilling to wait: AAPL stock is down over 1% today and is about to have its worst week since April 2016.