SINGAPORE: Hundreds gathered outside the Apple store along Orchard Road on Thursday (Nov 2), a day before the launch of the iPhone X in Singapore.
As the crowd swelled in the late afternoon and early evening, staff members were seen asking those in the scrum to take "one step back".
"You need breathing space! This will take a while. There is no point in pushing," staff members were heard saying.
They also directed the crowd to form a single line, instead of gathering outside the store.
Witnesses told Channel NewsAsia that they had seen five or six people queuing outside the store as early as Wednesday.
Undergraduate Kennneth Cheng, 20, who has been queuing since 4pm on Thursday, told Channel NewsAsia he came prepared to camp overnight, with bread, water and a power bank for his phone. “It’s quite expensive, but this is the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone after all,” he said.
Eighteen-year-old Vietnamese national Phong, said he packed instant noodles in case he gets hungry overnight, as well as his school uniform as he has school at noon the next day.
“I want to sell it for income,” he said of the iPhone X, adding that it was “different”. “Everybody wants it,” he added.
“It’s my first time reselling. I plan to sell it on Facebook, maybe to other Vietnamese,” said the SHRM College student.
“I will even sell my slot if someone offers me, depending on the money.”
As of 7pm, hundreds of people who had been queuing since Thursday afternoon had settled in and were sitting in line, occasionally shouting to their friends as they tried to chat above the din of hundreds of birds in nearby trees.
Those who tried to leave the queue were told they could only do so if their wrist tags were scanned later in the evening. “Once you are scanned, you have one hour to leave the queue. If it’s more than one hour, you have to go back to the start of the queue,” a security official was heard saying to a woman.
The iPhone X, which is Apple's 10th anniversary phone, retails from S$1,648 for the entry-level 64GB model.
Telcos earlier told Channel NewsAsia that interest in the device was "very good".
In a statement on Thursday, Apple said the initial response for the iPhone X showed that customer demand was "off the charts", adding that it was "working hard" to get the device "into the hands of every customer who wants one, as quickly as possible".
The iPhone X will be available from 8am on Friday.