More than 200 people had lined up in front of the Apple Store in Garosu-gil, Seoul, as of 7 a.m. on Friday -- the day of the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4’s launch in South Korea.
Some had come to queue from the night before. Hours later, at 10 a.m., the line showed no signs of shrinking.
The new models are by far the most expensive of Apple Inc.’s smartphone creations, with a storage capacity of up to 512 GB. The iPhone XS Max 512 GB is the priciest of the selection this time, with a price tag of 1.97 million won ($1,735). Even the cheapest “budget” XR 64 GB costs 990,000 won ($890).
(Shot and edited by Lim Jeong-yeo, co-produced with Kim Bo-gyung)
A YouTuber waiting in line said his eyes were on the new Apple Watch. He’d even had a new credit card issued for the purchase. He’d reached the middle of the line, having arrived at 6 a.m.
The 20-year-old man who stood at the very front of the line said he’d been there since 9 p.m. the night before.
“After this I’m going to work,” said the consumer, who asked not to be named.
“My colleagues don’t know I spent the night here, and if they found out I think they’d think of me as a weird person.”
The man said he would go for the iPhone XS Max, because that’s the screen size he likes the best for watching videos. He wouldn’t necessarily go for the most memory, as 64 GB suited him well enough.
“I gave up on Apple in terms of (expecting an affordable) price. So I’m not surprised about Apple’s pricing,” he said.
More people kept adding to the line as the morning progressed.
Apple Store Korea normally opens at 10 a.m. But on this special day, it opened two hours early.
The first 11 people in line were admitted to the store at 8 a.m. sharp, after a countdown and applause from Apple employees.
Kim Sang-hyuk, 25, was the first purchaser of the day at Apple Store Korea. (Lim Jeong-yeo / The Korea Herald)
The first person to make a purchase was Kim Sang-hyuk, 25, who said he worked as a social worker. Kim had stood in line since 11:40 p.m. the night before.
He said price was the least of his concerns. His pick was the most expensive of the new models: the iPhone XS Max’s 512 GB version in gold. This was Kim’s third iPhone, after the 6 Plus and 7.
Despite the festive mood, not everyone was pleased about the way Apple handled the occasion.
Several people came to the store for the new Apple Watch, but those who had come to purchase the Hermes special edition were disappointed, as they wouldn’t be in until the new year. The store had advised them to preorder through the website.
“I’ve been in line since 11 p.m. last night, because when I called the Apple Garosugil store, I was told the Hermes edition (of the Apple Watch Series 4) would be here for sure,” said a man who stood near the front of the line.
“But after waiting for hours, I was belatedly informed the Apple Store does not have the Hermes edition and that I (need to place an order) online. They didn’t offer any priority order service after all the hours I wasted on the street waiting,” said the man, adding that this was extremely disappointing customer service.
Apple Korea said it would work to stock its inventory as soon as possible.
Koreans line up in front of Apple Store Korea on Nov. 2 for Apple’s new iPhone XR, XS and XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4. (Lim Jeong-yeo / The Korea Herald)
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