Crowds queue overnight in Dubai Mall ahead of iPhone launch

Apple fans fly all the way from Russia to be first in line for the new technology

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iPhone fever was in full swing at Dubai Mall on Thursday as dozens of devotees prepared to queue all night to be first in line for Apple’s latest smartphones.

Fans flew all the way from Russian and Kyrgyzstan in an effort to get their hands on the new high-tech iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max products.

By 7pm, the 30-strong queue outside the Apple store included a mixture of students and professionals, all eager for Friday’s 8am launch.

Some came equipped with sleeping bags while others claimed roughing it without one for one night was well worth it.

Apple fans join a line to buy the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max released on Friday. Leslie Pableo / The National     

Vlad Mikheev, 24, who flew from St Petersburg, Russia, said: “I came here just to get the iPhone.

“It’s not released on sale in Russia until next week and I didn’t want to wait.”

Imat Musaev, 26, said he and his friends had come all the way from Kyrgyzstan to purchase the very latest in Apple technology.

“I came to Dubai especially to get the phone,” said the marketing executive, who also brought sleeping bags for himself and his friends.

“I wanted to do it because it will be the first time I’ll be able to get my hands on a gold iPhone.”

The Apple store in Dubai Mall will open its doors at 8am on Friday as two updated versions of the iPhone X — the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max — and the Apple Watch Series 4 go on sale.

In previous years, hundreds of Apple fans have turned out before the stores' opening to be among the first to get their hands on the latest products.

Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, said most analysts were not anticipating as much of a frenzy this time around as the launch was less about a totally new design and more about a “hardware refresh”.

He said he expected the crowd to consist of hardcore Apple fans and shoppers looking for a larger phone, as opposed to those seeking to upgrade their current iPhone X.

Standing in line, Hasan Malik, 18, from Pakistan, said getting hold of the new iPhone was his only plan for the weekend.

“For me, when a new iPhone is released it has to be my first priority to get it,” the student from Sharjah’s Westford University said.

“I don’t care about the specifications or what it looks like. If there is a new iPhone out there I have got to get it.”

The iPhone XS is an advanced version of the iPhone X released last year. At 5.8 inches, it is the same size but comes with a dual sim, better battery life, a faster processor and an upgraded camera. It will also come in gold and cost Dh4,229, the same price as the original iPhone X.


Read more:

Apple unveils trio of new iPhones — in pictures

UAE iPhone XS launch: queues expected to build at Dubai Mall ahead of Friday release


Meanwhile the iPhone XS Max - with a 6.5 inch screen, one inch bigger than the screen of the iPhone 8 Plus - will be the biggest handset Apple has produced yet. It will cost slightly more than the iPhone XS at Dh4,649.

Analysts also said the display of the Apple Watch Series 4 would be around 30 per cent bigger than current models and includes more health features.

Also in the queue, Armen Avanesyan, 27, said it was the third time he had specifically travelled to Dubai from his native Moscow just to get an iPhone.

“We were here for iPhone 8 and iPhone X so even though we forgot to bring sleeping bags, it is well worth the wait,” he said.