'I queue for the satisfaction'

SINGAPORE - Three years ago, he was first in the queue when the iPhone 4 was launched here.

The next year, when the iPhone 4S was made available, he was again first in line.

Same for last year, when the iPhone 5 came out.

On Thursday, Mr Melva Yip, 23, was again first in line among about a dozen others at the Paragon M1 store at 10pm, in anticipation of the iPhone 5S which was due to be launched on Friday.

For all these years, he's waited between 15 and 18 hours, just so he can get his hands on the latest model.

Said Mr Yip: "It's an achievement for me, waiting tests my patience and my willpower. There's satisfaction in being the first."

The Nanyang Polytechnic student in aeronautical and aerospace technology said he's actually not a huge Apple fan.

"I'm more into their iPhones. I have a MacBook Air but I'm not interested in their iPod Touch or iPad," he said, adding that what attracted him was the technology of the phones.

"Fingerprint sensors (a feature of the iPhone 5S) have never been used on phones before. I'm excited about testing the new product and seeing how it will work."

A highlight of the iPhone 5S is the Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor which allows a person to unlock the smartphone with just a touch. It is also the first 64-bit smartphone to be released.

Mr Yip was not alone in his wait. With him was his girlfriend, Miss Olivia Lum, 18, who also accompanied him for the past three releases.

"She'll sometimes say she's tired. I tell her that it's only a few more hours to opening, and why not push for it since you're here anyway," he said.

It's not his idea of a date though, and he said he would thank her by getting her a meal.

Miss Lum, who said she was "just queueing because Melva is queuing", agreed it was tiring.

"But Melva doesn't give up, so I cannot give up," she said.

Mr Yip added he doesn't prepare much - just a portable charger to keep his phone going, some drinks and a cushion to rest on.

The couple also make many new friends as they wait, due to their common interests. One of the topics discussed in the queue yesterday was the latest iOS 7 mobile operating system, for example.

To stave off tedium, they talk a lot and walk around every few hours to stretch, he said.

And due to publicity from previous rounds of queueing, he said his parents and friends have expected him in this spot.

"When the new iPhone 5S was being announced in September, my parents just asked: 'What time are you going to queue? Are you going to be the first one?'"

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