Sci-tech

"Bleak" Turnout For Australian iPhone 8 Launch

"I'm very excited to be holding the new iPhone".

Less than 30 people have turned up to the launch of the iPhone 8 today at the Apple Store on George Street, Sydney. When the doors opened, there were around 200 people.

By 7.30am, more than 100 people were in the queue.

Apple unveiled the new iPhones in the U.S. this week, spruiking the A11 Bionic processor; six-core CPU built to handle artificial intelligence (AI) tasks; a 3D gaming and machine-learning capable GPU; a smarter Siri; series of augmented reality (AR) apps; support for LTE-Advanced; and wireless charging based on Qi, with chargers to be build throughout cars, retailers, and airports.

The first person in line, Mazen Kourouche, waited in line at the Sydney Apple Store for 11 days, and had initially hoped to pick up the iPhone X, rather than the iPhone 8. Kourouche says he's giving the phones to family members and will upgrade to the X when it comes out.

Mr Anmol Sehra, a 21-year-old student from India who is studying in Coleman College, came with his roommate Jagdeep Singh, a 21-year-old student studying in Birmingham Academy. "I appreciate this new glass finish" more than the finish on the recent line, he said.

The iPhone 8 is equipped with cutting-edge technologies like wireless charging, but "a majority of customers will probably choose the iPhone X", said Takashi Tanaka, president of carrier KDDI.

According to CEO Tim Cook, Apple is aiming for the "next decade" with the iPhone X.

The iPhone X, meanwhile, has disposed with the home button; integrated FaceID facial recognition, with the face data not being sent to a server and instead being stored on a chip; a Super Retina and HDR 10 display with Dolby Vision, True Tone, and 3D Touch support; animated emojis; dual 12-megapixel cameras with f 1.8 and 2.4 apertures; and a quad-LED flash. It also has fancy, stabilized front and rear cameras. Mr Sehra bought an iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone 8 retails for $1,148 (64GB) and $1,388 (256GB), while the iPhone 8 Plus retails for $1,308 (64GB) and $1,548 (256GB).

The National University of Singapore (NUS) finance foreign exchange student from Thailand was the first to pre-order and buy an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

"I started my first smartphone use with the iPhone", he said. "I've been using Samsung Note 5 and I feel that it gets laggy after a while, so I chose to go back to iPhone". Now, queues to get the latest Apple handset are more modest affairs.

Those who pre-ordered their smartphones were allowed to enter ahead of those in the walk-in queue. And this year, fans were torn between Friday's holiday and its return in a month and a half.



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