Hong Kong’s iPhone grey market cashes in on the 6s

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

All Eyes On iPhone 6S, Hits Stores Today.

The most awaited phones iPhone 6s and 6s Plus has finally hit stores today, with dozens of people and a robot queuing in capital of New South Wales, Sydney, to start a global sales cycle that will be scrutinized for signs of how much juice Apple Inc’s marquee product has left. Resales of the brand-new iPhone 6s were lacklustre this morning near Apple’s flagship store in Hong Kong, where the gadget made its debut on the same day as in mainland China.Sprint Corp announced a US$1 (RM4.38) per month plan for Apple Inc’s new iPhone, upping the ante in a battle among top US carriers to sign up customers ahead of the phone’s launch on Sept 25.

HONG KONG: On a bustling street in China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen, more than 30 stores carrying Apple Inc’s iconic white logos peddle pre-orders for the new iPhone, a gadget that has become a status symbol among many better-off Chinese. According to analysts experts, 12 million to 13 million phones are expected to fly off the shelves in the first-weekend, up form above 10 million last year when the hugely successful iPhone 6’s launch was delayed in the world’s biggest smartphone market, China. Imagine snapping a shot of your kid blowing out birthday candles — and getting video showing the flame going out as everyone sings “Happy Birthday.” Yes, sound is included. For those standing in the rain on George Street, it’s irrelevant that a store across the street is selling the same product with no waiting required. When it comes to technology, surveys show that millennials tend to be heavily dependent on mobile devices, use social media far more than other age groups and have short fuses for gadgets that don’t work smoothly.

Many of the stores look just like Apple’s signature outlets, right down to the sales staff kitted out in blue T-shirts bearing the company’s white logo and the sample iPads and iWatches displayed on sleek wooden tables. Competition in the US wireless industry has been heating up and the launch of the newest iPhones offers a chance for carriers to lure customers away from competitors.

The researchers described them as “distinctive in how they place themselves at the center of self-created digital networks.” No other generation is inclined to do this, Pew said. In a race for subscribers, Sprint, which posted 57.7 million customers at the end of the last quarter ended June 30, slipped to fourth place among US wireless carriers, falling behind T-Mobile US Inc, which reported 58.9 million customers for the same period. Official retail prices start at HK$5,588 for the iPhone6s with a 4.7-inch display and HK$6,388 for the iPhone6s Plus with a 5.5-inch display, according to Apple’s Hong Kong webpage. Rival T-Mobile is offering the 16GB iPhone 6s for US$5 (RM22) per month in exchange for an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 versions. The rapid increase in copycat Apple stores underscores the popularity of the brand in China, where it doubled its revenue in the third quarter from a year earlier to more than US$13bil (RM56.99bil), and suggests the US tech giant is on course to shrug off weakening consumer spending in its second biggest market. “There are many Apple fans in China,” said a clerk surnamed Zhao at one of the unauthorised dealers that opened just two weeks ago. “There are many silly people in China who are willing to pay extra money just to get a new iPhone ahead of everyone else.” The latest iteration of the iPhone, featuring larger screens and longer battery life, will only be available on the launch date in China to customers who have reserved online, and the company has said pre-order demand has outstripped supply.

Early in the morning, more than 300 people who had reserved appointments to buy the new smartphones weeks ago queued up in an orderly manner, assisted by cheerful Apple staff members dressed in grey shirts. Apple said it was offering its own financing scheme for an unlocked iPhone, which gives a customer the liberty to switch between carriers, rather than be tied down by a contract with one carrier. Shenzhen’s unauthorised Apple stores are taking advantage, banking on quick-hit gains from re-selling devices bought via authorised sales channels for as much as double the official price to consumers unwilling to wait weeks for stock to arrive.

Without bothering to unwrap their purchases, many then made a beeline for a nearby footbridge, where at least 50 electronics speculators had taken up position to trade and bargain. Several workers at the stores said they were buying iPhone models in China and in overseas markets such as the United States and Hong Kong, from where they would be smuggled across the border into the mainland. But judging by the time I’ve gotten to spend with the devices ahead of their official release, I see a lot in these devices that fit well with the under-35, always-connected, social-media obsessed smartphone user. (Full disclosure: Born in 1986, I’m one of them.) Posting photos to social media is far easier.

But the widespread unauthorised reselling of even genuine goods can make it harder for companies such as Apple to manage their brands and risks disrupting longer term plans. Speculators found themselves still holding on to the stock they acquired earlier as the excitement dissipated and only a handful of passers-by showed interest in their iPhones. So without further ado, let me point out several features that should make the millennial crowd especially pleased with what Apple has done with its latest phones. Just a stone’s throw from the street of copycat stores, tucked away in a giant tech mall, two shops offer the logos, uniforms, display shelves and shopping bags needed to make an unauthorised outlet feel like a genuine Apple store. Apple is releasing too many products at the same time.” Information technology worker Nok Au, 24, was looking for a buyer who was willing to offer the right price for the three brand-new iPhones she had just bought. “I am going to get the pink colour … I am definitely going to use the new phone.

Some shops have blocked signs that read “authorised Apple seller” with promotional banners and covered Apple logos on staff uniforms with stickers, although several vendors said business had not been affected. As you probably could guess from the name, 3D Touch adds some depth to the old swipe-and-tap routine, by way of a screen that can tell how hard you’re pressing. Others in the industry said the fake Apple store had become so popular that it was just a matter of time before some shops would be forced to close as the market becomes saturated. Back at the tech mall, Yang Fei, owner of a shop that helps unauthorised dealers set up specialized cellphone stores, said it might be time for Apple dealers to think about switching to other brands. “Look at all the shops out there on the street. You can “peek” into certain parts of the phone with a gentle push, most often to call up a menu of quick-launch options or a preview of what you want to read.

Apple’s iCloud Photo Library service might free up some storage on your phone, but you might be better off buying a phone with more storage to begin with. Not every implementation is perfect; for instance, pressing on the App Store icon brought up a search bar that I don’t feel is hard to get to without 3D Touch. It feels like we shouldn’t be impressed with the megapixel wars anymore, particularly since Apple’s 12 MP camera doesn’t even boast the most on the market. That’s great for scenic landscapes and family photos on the rear-facing camera, especially if you have kids or pets that don’t properly time their adorableness for your shutter click.

Live Photos can be shared in their full glory with anyone who has iOS 9, as well as Mac users; Apple’s also launched an API for the feature, which means we could see it supported on other services down the line. With more finishes and customization options – you can even have Live Photo wallpapers – the company’s also offering up more ways to make your phone more personal.

It is not on the level of something like Motorola’s build-your-own-phone designs, but it is still a good and welcome fit for what’s been called the “me me me” generation. Then again, since Americans spend a reported 4.7 hours per day on their smartphones, it makes some sense that everyone would want their iPhone to reflect their personalities. Chief executive Tim Cook has made no secret of the fact that wrapping the iPhone in gold – and now a new and very pink rose-gold – was an appeal to middle-class and wealthy customers in China.

But it also fits into Apple’s broader push to establish itself as the luxury brand of hardware devices – an effort that was seen in the marketing around the Apple Watch (recall that one model was priced at $17,000!). Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles.

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