SINGAPORE — As they do every year, the lines outside stores showed up as expected on iPhone launch day on Friday.
But the lines, which in the past often snaked around the block, were observed to be shorter than usual. In part, this was due to the global stock shortage of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices, meaning people wouldn’t get their colour of choice. Many are also choosing to order online and skip the queue.
This is one of the more impressive lines, at the Nubox reseller outlet at Bedok:
Enthusiasm for the new iPhone seemingly crushed all three local carriers’ systems days before Friday.
The country’s largest phone company, SingTel, encountered numerous “technical issues” as soon as the pre-registration page opened on Tuesday.
The company posted an apology notice on its site, and ended up having to repeat the registration process days later, much to the chagrin of many customers.
A SingTel user, Jan Reinmueller, told Mashable that he got a reservation confirmed on Tuesday, but later received an SMS on Thursday asking him to re-register. When he logged in again, he found that his original choice, jet black, was sold out.
The two other telcos, Starhub and M1, also struggled to cope with demand. Starhub’s Facebook page is inundated with complaints from frustrated users, who say they were unable to get into the site during their allocated time slots.
M1, with the smallest subscriber base of the three, also had website issues. It was also eventually forced to ring its customers to say their phones would be delayed — an issue it blamed on Apple.
Big launch, despite some disappointment
SingTel still took out the confetti guns on Friday morning during its annual launch bonanza, where it had the head of its consumer group personally hand out iPhones to the first 10 SingTel customers fast enough to grab iPhones on its site.
“The page hung. When I refreshed, it was all gone.”
Speaking to Mashable at the launch, the fifth customer in line, Pauline, said she was happy to get a phone on day one, but got a silver phone, although she wanted it in matte black.
“After I booked (the matte black), the page hung. When I refreshed, it was all gone,” she said.
Another user, Lawrence, who was eighth in line, said he managed to snag an iPhone 7 in rose gold. “But I’m very disappointed… I wanted jet black,” he said.
First in line, Wellson Lee, was very happy, by contrast. The IT architect managed to get the phone he wanted, a black iPhone 7.
He’s always used black iPhones over the years, and was pleased to keep the tradition going, he said.
But carriers may have also lost several re-contracting customers to reseller stores. Outside the Epicentre store in the Ion Orchard mall, a couple named Amila and Kumudu had spent the night at the mall after the husband, Amila, failed to get the iPhone 7 he wanted.
After a frustrating experience with the SingTel registration page, he considered buying one off a reseller at a premium, but decided to try camping outside the Epicentre store instead, he said.