Should shorter lines for the iPhone 8 concern Apple?
While industry watchers offered numerous explanations, the tech community was still surprised by the small crowds supporting last Friday’s launch of the iPhone 8.
Apple’s iPhone launches, since the first in 2007, have been consistently heralded in with lines around the block at company stores. Although a few places such as Singapore drew crowds for iPhone 8, the fact that only a handful showed up at many prominent locations became a news story. Articles noted that lines and the overall buzz around launches have weakened over the last few years, but still looked for explanations as to the light turnout on Friday.
Among the reasons given:
- Cooling hype: With the iPhone 8 marking the tenth iteration of the iPhone, most Apple fans have already bought their first or second smartphones.
- Sales shifting online: Although concerned early on about theft, consumers have grown more comfortable purchasing their iPhones online. Apple has also become better at keeping online stocks filled and delivering the items to homes on the launch date.
- Better line management: Apple has continually enhanced its “Reserve and Pick Up” option, which enables buyers to pre-order online and then select a specific half-hour time slot to pick up their order on launch day.
- Lackluster reviews: Seen as a small upgrade to the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 features better cameras, a faster processor and wireless charging. To some reviewers, a major selling point was the price (iPhone 8 and 8 Plus starting at $699 and $799, respectively) versus the coming iPhone X, which will retail at $999.
- Waiting for the iPhone X: This year, Apple is not releasing all its new models at the same time. The iPhone X is set to launch on November 3 and some fans are waiting for the flagship model. The iPhone X eliminates the home button for the first time as well as the fingerprint scanner, incorporating facial recognition tech and an edge-to-edge screen Some are expecting the long lines will return with the more-hyped iPhone X.
- iPhone 8 lines were orderly and short. In other words, a snooze – USA Today
- The lines for new iPhones at the Apple Store are getting shorter every year – CNBC
- Around the world, a muted launch for Apple’s iPhone 8 – Reuters
- iPhone 8: muted reaction and small queues lead to questions over demand – The Guardian
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are long iPhone launch lines still crucial to Apple’s hype-building efforts? Why do you think the crowds have been sparser in recent years and for Friday’s iPhone 8 launch? Did Apple err by rolling out the iPhone 8 and iPhone X separately?