iPhone X hits Asia stores as profits soar

File photo of an Apple iPhone store
Apple profits soared by a fifth as its flagship iPhone X hit stores in Asia on Friday, with the company predicting bumper sales despite its eye-watering price tag.

Net profit rose 19 per cent from a year ago to $10.7 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter to September 30, Apple said. Revenues were up 12 per cent to $52.6 billion.

Release of the earnings figures pushed Apple shares up more than 3 per cent to $173.20 and came as iPhone X models began hitting the market in some time zones.

The flagship handset features facial recognition, cordless charging and an edge-to-edge screen made of organic light-emitting diodes used in high-end televisions. It marks the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release and hits about 50 markets around the world Friday.

In Hong Kong, buyers who had pre-ordered the phone online queued to pick up their new purchases, saying they were willing to pay for what they saw as a landmark model.

“It’s the 10th anniversary phone — anyway, other phones like the Samsung are not much less,” said banker Tony Yeung, 35, as he queued outside the Apple store in Hong Kong’s Festival Walk mall.

“It’s convenient. You can unlock the phone just by holding it up to your face in bed after you wake up,” Yeung added.

He said he had bought two of the 64 GB version, costing HK$8,588 ($1,100), one for himself and one for his wife. 

Grey market 

It’s only Day One, but the grey market trade in Apple Inc’s new iPhone is already in full swing in Hong Kong.

About a dozen card tables and Styrofoam boxes had been set up along Argyle Street in Mong Kok, one of the city’s busiest shopping areas, on Friday morning.

Manned by touts surrounded by piles of Apple’s 10th anniversary smartphone, they were mobbed by shoppers — many of them reselling iPhone Xs bought earlier at one of Apple’s six official stores in Hong Kong.

The touts were paying around HK$10,300 to HK$10,500 ($1,320 to $1,346) to buy the 256-gigabyte iPhone X, while the 64-gigabyte edition netted HK$8,800 to HK$8,900. Apple retails the two phones for HK$9,888 and HK$8,588 respectively in Hong Kong, according to its website.

The iPhone X went on sale globally Friday, spurring long queues outside stores from Tokyo to Sydney.

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