Dubai Apple fans queue for hours for new iPhone XS, but is it worth the wait?

Customers had come equipped with books, easy bites and necessary toiletries, but there was a noticeable dip in enthusiasm

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Enthusiasm was at peak in the Dubai Mall on Friday morning, with Apple’s die-hard fans waiting patiently in queues for hours outside its store. At 8am doors opened and finally it was a new iPhone day for many in the UAE.

For dozens of iPhone customers, who camped outside the Apple’s store to grab their favourite smartphone right on launch date, it was eventually a rewarding moment.

“Finally Apple day is upon us. I waited the whole year for a new September to hear fresh announcements from Apple," said Petro Lyebov, a freelance photographer from Ukraine, who waited in the queue for more than 10 hours.

"Nothing could deter me from standing in a queue for some hours to hold my favourite tiny machine in my hands.”

However, zeal was not the same as the last year, when there were comparatively longer queues seen outside the Apple shop. Tech analysts say this year has more emphasis on hardware rather than design, leading to a dip in enthusiasm. Thought they expect demand will gradually pick up.

After a global launch in California, Apple’s new products iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4 made their debut in Dubai on Friday morning.

“Sacrificing one night’s sleep for a new iPhone is certainly not a huge price. In fact now I am going to have many more sleepless nights as I will be exploring the innovative marvels of my new XS,” Rishab Jain, a businessman, who had specially flown from India to Dubai to avoid extra taxes in his home country.

According to Dubai mall’s security officials, people started gathering outside the Apple store from Thursday evening and queues started building up late in the night. Apple fans had come equipped with books, easy bites and necessary toiletries to ensure a hassle-free wait.


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Apple iPhone XS and XS Max launch in Dubai: wait is over as fans get hands on new products


“I stood in the queue since 3am but I am still full of energy and don’t feel any kind of fatigue because of a sleepless night. It is surely the Apple’s magic,” said Mohammed Kadir, a Pakistani UAE resident.

Apple has introduced the iPhone XS - an advanced version of the iPhone X with a 5.8-inch screen, faster processor, and better camera. It is selling from Dh4,229.

The Apple iPhone XS and XS Max on display at the Apple Store in Dubai Mall. Alkesh Sharma / The National
The Apple iPhone XS and XS Max on display at the Apple Store in Dubai Mall. Alkesh Sharma / The National

Also on sale from today is the iPhone XS Max - a bigger version of the iPhone XS with a 6.5-inch screen and the higher price of Dh4,649. Both are available in 64, 256 and 512GB capacity.

“This is the time to gain some points over your cousins, who are staying in different parts of the world. It’s always a special feeling to be the first in the family to hold the Apple’s product. I am soon going to upload plenty of selfies with my new iPhone XS on my social media account,” said Asher Begashvili, a marketing executive from Azerbaijan, who is working with a perfumes company in Dubai.

The Apple Watch 4 series. Alkesh Sharma / The National
The Apple Watch 4 series. Alkesh Sharma / The National

The Apple Watch Series 4, which is about 30 per cent bigger than current models and includes more health features, is also available for sale.

“It seems as if I have won some battle. I am a big fan of large screens so I have bought iPhone XS Max that comes with a 6.5-inch display. It looks like the most durable front glass ever in a smartphone,” said Bobby Mathews, a graphic designer from Sharjah.

Mohammed Fahadi, who had driven from Muscat to Dubai with friends, said: “I am not here to buy a new iPhone, I can wait for it. But still I am camping in Dubai Mall since 6am to see the enthusiasm of Dubai. But queues are not that long as I had expected.”

Apple has also revealed the iPhone XR, but pre-orders for that don't start until October 19 ahead of an October 26 release in the UAE. The device is a lower cost version of the iPhone X with a 6.1-inch LCD screen and it comes in six colour choices. It's lower price point of Dh3,179 is likely to help Apple gain a broader market share.

It’s always nice to be No 1, says Apple’s first Dubai buyer

For Apple fans, distance does not matter. They just want to be the first users of cutting-edge technology.

The Mikheev brothers had specially flown from Russia to the UAE to buy new iPhones. They were the first in the queue at Dubai Mall.

“I stayed in line for almost 20 hours to buy the new iPhone. I didn't mind flying from St Petersburg to Dubai because I cannot wait anymore. In my home country, iPhones’ new models will be available from September 28 that is pretty late for me,” said Vladislav Mikheev, who had reached Dubai on Thursday.

“The end result of this arduous journey is very fulfilling.”

Konstantin, Vladislav’s younger brother said: “XS Max is really cool. I have already fallen in love with its technology and camera.”

“We have no time for sight-seeing and will be flying back tomorrow. Because now it’s time to show our friends and colleagues that we are the No 1 and the coolest.”


Read more:

Apple iPhone XS and XS Max launch in Dubai: wait is over as fans get hands on new products

Crowds queue overnight in Dubai Mall ahead of iPhone launch


Abu Dhabi-based Bakhit Alsubousi, who bought iPhone XS Max in gold, was the first UAE buyer who placed a pre-order.

“It’s always a nice feeling to be the No 1. I love Apple’s technology and the way they treat their customers. I am already thrilled with the reviews that I have read so far and now it’s time to try the features first-hand,” stated Mr Alsubousi, who was first one to enter Apple’s store in Dubai Mall.