They came as early as 6.30am on Thursday (Nov 2) morning to queue outside the Apple store along Orchard Road, and their numbers amassed to the hundreds by sunset – all just for the launch of the iPhone X.
Many came with luggage bags, picnic mats and food in tow, and were well prepared to spend the night on the streets.
And by Friday (Nov 3), there were hundreds of people from around the world waiting for Apple to open its doors at 8am.
As Singapore is the first country in Southeast Asia to make the iPhone X available for sale, the Apple store saw scores of foreigners – especially from Sri Lanka and Vietnam – looking to get their hands on the device.
There might not have been too much of a queue for the launch of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, but now we know why – they were waiting for the one and only iPhone X.
Business Insider decided to get in on the action by paying the Apple store a visit just before its doors opened, and this is what the scene was like:
The crowd outside the Apple Store was easy to spot along the otherwise deserted Orchard Road.
There were hundreds of people lined up when we got there at 7am, all waiting for Apple to open its doors at 8am.
There were two lines – one for those with pre orders, and the other for walk-in customers hoping to get their hands on a new phone.
Those who had pre-ordered their phones were assigned specific time slots to pick them up (starting from 8am), and were let in during their allocated time slot.
While the line for those with pre-orders was relatively short and organised, the line for walk-ins seemed to stretch for miles.
Making our way through the crowd, it was evident that many of the customers in line were of foreign nationalities.
Overhearing a group of young adults conversing in Vietnamese, we decided to find out what motivated them to make the trip to Singapore.
Mr An Vu, a 20-year-old who works in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, says that he arrived in Singapore a couple of days ago and had a flight out at 2pm on Nov 3.
He started lining up at 5pm on Nov 2 – more than 12 hours before the launch- and was No.579 in the queue – according to a tag he was given.
But he says that it was “worth it” because he can “sell it for much higher” back home in Vietnam.
And he wasn’t the only one who was looking to resell the iPhone X for a higher price.
Mr Rukshan De Silver, a 27-year-old technology store owner from Sri Lanka, had also flown in to Singapore for the same reason.
With pre-orders of his own piling up back home, he says that people are willing to pay more than 260,000 Sri Lankan Rupees (S$2,305) for the iPhone X.
Although Apple only allows each customer to buy two devices, he is hoping to join the line again after getting his first two, so that he will have more units to bring home.
But with the large number of people waiting in line, such hopes to get more than two iPhones might prove to be overly optimistic.
The reselling of the iPhone X was also a common motivation for some Singaporeans in line, but many were simply looking to buy the iPhone X for themselves or their loved ones.
Mr Tran Van Phong, a 20-year-old Vietnamese student, was “very, very, very happy” after being one of the first few customers to walk out with the newest iPhone.
He had been in line since 1pm yesterday, and was looking forward to trying out his new gadget.
Meanwhile, most Singaporeans who showed up to collect their iPhones had already made pre-orders beforehand.
And if you’re curious about what a close-up of the iPhone X looks like, here it is.
We also saw Singtel and Circles.Life representatives at the event, trying to get new iPhone owners signed up with their respective telcos.
To do so, they had various gimmicks up their sleeves.
From photo opportunities…
…to free food and drinks.
Aside from the Apple Store along Orchard Road, some were waiting in line outside Courts – which is just a short distance down the road.
But with fair warning that the electronics and furniture retailer only had a few units of the iPhone in stock, some of these loyal fans might have to wait a few more days to get their new iPhones.