SINGAPORE - It is a day before the launch of the latest iPhones at 9am on Friday (Sept 21), but by noon on Thursday, a queue of roughly 250 people had already formed in front of the Apple store in Orchard Road.
At 11am, consumers hoping to get their hands on the iPhone XS and XS Max were ushered into barricades set up outside the store.
Each person, who can buy only up to two phones, was given a wristband which allows them to leave the queue and return within 30 minutes to retain their spot in the queue.
First in line was Mr Le Thang, 20, who flew to Singapore from Vietnam the day before to queue for the launch. He arrived at the store at 6am on Thursday and said he plans to buy two iPhone XS Max phones, one for himself and another for a friend.
"I queue every year for the iPhones but it's my first time No.1 (in the queue). I'm very happy," says the student, who will be flying home on Friday night.
His sister, Ms To Phuong, 28, was second in line. She flew in this morning and joined the queue with luggage in tow, to get two iPhone XS Max phones for herself and her mum.
They are part of a 44-member Vietnamese group called Dat Cay Da that had flown into Singapore to buy the phones. Their members took up the first few rows in the queue, with some of them still carrying pieces of luggage.
Singaporean Haikal Putra, 22, who was queueing among the Vietnamese, said he was the first person to arrive at the Apple store at 1.30am but lost out on the No.1 spot due to "a commotion" when getting ushered into the official queue.
The operation executive said he had already pre-ordered two iPhone XS Max phones online but decided on a whim to join the queue to get two more. It was his first time queueing and he had hoped to be first in line.
"I'm keeping one phone for myself and selling the other three phones away to make a profit," he said.
The iPhone XS retails for $1,649 (64GB), $1,889 (256GB, version tested) and $2,199 (512GB), while the iPhone XS Max retails for $1,799 (64GB), $2,039 (256GB, version tested) and $2,349 (512GB).
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.