iPhone 8 gets lukewarm reception around the world


The iPhone 8 queues in Australia weren't what they've been in previous years.
Photo: S Marshall-McCormack/Twitter

Fans queuing for the latest iPhone is something customary for new launches, but according to reports from across the globe, demand isn’t what it has been in previous years.

Interest in the new handset seems to be muted, with Apple stores seeing a fraction of the lines that have greeted previous iPhone launches. At Apple stores in New York City, where typically hundreds of fans are queued up for hours to buy the iPhone, the entire line was gone within the first hour of the store opening.

Other lines in Australia and the U.K. also looked pretty feeble. Some stores didn’t even have a line as many fans are forgoing the iPhone 8 in anticipation of the iPhone X which launches in November.

Reuters pins the blame partly on “poor reviews” for the handsets. It quotes Mazen Kourouche, a YouTuber who lined up early to get the device to review online, as saying that the iPhone 8, “is pretty similar to the iPhone 7 but it shoots 4k 60 frames per second and it’s got a new glass back instead of the metal which is apparently more durable. There aren’t too many new features to this one.”

Another reason for the lack of large queues is Apple’s continued efforts to get users to instead order their new devices online. Gone are the days when you could queue up at your local Apple store and be guaranteed your choice of color and storage option immediately. Instead, online orders are the way Apple has increasingly focused its emphasis for product launches.

X marks the spot (for the queues)

The biggest reason, however, is the upcoming iPhone X, which launches November 3. Contrary to what Reuters says, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus haven’t received “poor reviews.” If anything, the reviews have been uninspired — although no-one has panned the device.

The iPhone X is the smartphone that most Apple fans are hoping for, though — as the company’s biggest iPhone refresh since 2014’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While I suspect that the iPhone 8 will sell a lot better than stories like the Reuters report makes out, the kind of hardcore fans who are willing to queue outside an Apple store for a new phone are also more likely to be willing to buy the top-end handset. That’s certainly what our own polling on the subject has revealed, among folks who frequent Apple news sites such as this one.

My only question as to the iPhone X’s success relates to how available it will be upon launch. Just yesterday, a report stated that Apple has run into more late-stage manufacturing problems with the device — meaning that final production on the handset hasn’t even started yet. As a result of this, it is likely that supply of the iPhone X will be severely constrained around launch time, and is unlikely to balance with demand until well into 2018.

Which iPhone, if any, are you planning to buy this year? Leave your comments below.