Meet the people queueing for the new iPhone across Singapore

We took to the streets to find out the motivation for the madness behind camping for days

No matter what’s written about the new iPhones each year, one thing’s for sure. You’re going to get snaking queues filled with sleep-deprived people.

Ever wondered who they are? What’s their motivation to get up at the crack of hazy dawn to go stand in line? We’ve got the answers.

Singtel at Marina Bay Sands

You’ll have to give Singtel due credit for arranging a fuss-free collection process. Especially so with this crazy haze that’s blanketed Singapore.

Singtel held the launch event at Marina Bay Sands. Though each customer was given a specific time to head down and collect, there were some who still made their way down bright and early. 

Daryl Lee, 31

4.45am

First in line, this Apple fan’s set on the rose gold version. “It’s the only way that differentiates it from the previous version,” said Lee, who also targeted 128GB of storage for media consumption.

Annual upgrades are a common affair for Lee, who started using the iPhone 5s after he ditched his BlackBerry phone. Despite the iPhone 6s’ similar design to its predecessor, Lee is swayed by new features such as 3D Touch and Live Photos. “Apple doesn’t do things for no reason, I believe the Retina Flash is useful too,” Lee said.

Charis Ng, 26

5.30am

“This is my sixth iPhone, starting from the iPhone 4. It’s the feel of it, the interface, that makes me want the iPhone,” Ng explained.

Likewise, it was 3D Touch that got Ng’s attention. She also chose the Rose Gold option, but not for the feminine touch that people might think. “I would get Rose Gold to differentiate it from the other iPhones,” she said.

Tristan, 29 

7am

It looks like the Rose Gold is a clear winner in terms of desirability. Like the two before him, Tristan also said he’s getting the 128GB iPhone 6s Plus in Rose Gold, even though he’s already using an iPhone 6 Plus.

When asked if he thought Rose Gold was too feminine a shade for a man to be packing in public, he replied, “Nope. I have no problems with it at all. I'm confident enough to carry it off.”

EpiCentre at ION

Next up was Epicentre at ION, where the hardcore fans were waiting. Why do we say this? Because unlike the telcos, the sale of the iPhone wasn’t via appointment, but by the good old game of first come, first served. The first in line was a true blue Apple fan.

Nguyen Truong Son, 27

2pm

Make that 2pm since two days ago. It’s hard to miss the young Vietnamese man in the queue, not just because he’s first in line, but mostly because of the bright yellow luggage bag he had by his side. He flew to Singapore specially to purchase the iPhone 6 Plus even though he already has a 6 Plus (for which he was one of the first ten in line in Vietnam last year).

When asked why he goes to such extremes for the iPhone, he simply replied with a smile, “I love the iPhone.” Well, that’s as good a reason as any, we suppose.

Ha Minh Anh, 23

9am

Like Nguyen Truong Son, Ha flew in from Vietnam to get her hands on the new iPhone. She did the exact same thing last year and was one of the first at the Wheelock queue. Her reason for upgrading is a little more practical though, “I’m getting the 64GB iPhone 6s Plus because my 16GB iPhone Plus has too small a memory”. Purchase duly justified.

M1 and iStudio at Paragon

The M1 queue was a very low key affair, but it’s probably because the telco has very efficiently allocated times for their pre-order customers to book and collect their handsets. That meant there were only about 30 people in the queue for the 8-9am slot.

On the other hand, iStudio just across the corridor saw about 100 people queueing, which was probably due to the reseller sticking with a first-come-first-served system.

Jeff, 3rd in line at M1 Paragon

While he declined to be photographed, Jeff was generous with his opinions on the new iPhone particularly on 3D Touch, “I think it’s just a gimmick. There are too many things. Why I want an iPhone is simplicity, that it’s dependable, there are a lot of updates, and the camera. I feel too many features really clutter the system.”

Having said that, he’s still getting a Space Grey iPhone 6s Plus for himself, and a Rose Gold iPhone 6s for his wife. You know what they say, a couple that iPhones together stays together.

Vietnamese male student queuing at iStudio

Just like a lot of people, he’s enamoured with the Rose Gold, “I think it’s not too girly. I really like this colour. I would buy it, but they don’t have any more of it, so I have to buy the Gold.”

Here comes the plot twist though. The young man’s not purchasing the new iPhone for himself. He’s buying it to resell in Vietnam.

“I can get around S$1500 for it.”

StarHub at Vivocity

Rather than going with a big bang at one central location, StarHub opted for a more convenient approach for its customers. Without a lot of fanfare, it allowed customers to go to any of its 38 retail shops to collect their pre-ordered iPhones. Still, that didn't stop some customers from queueing an hour earlier than their appointed time.

Chu Yen Kai, 37

The engineer was the first to arrive at the Vivocity store at 9.55am. Surprisingly, Chu decided to go for the 16GB option, but like most of the guys we spoke to, it was the Rose Gold that caught his fancy. Clearly, the colour that makes it stand out and differentiates itself from the other iPhones is the more popular choice. The iPhone 5s owner was also attracted by the new features such as a bumped-up 12MP camera, 3D Touch and Live Photos. And even though he's not that into Retina Flash, he'll be using it because it'll help a lot for selfies. "Especially for my wife," he adds with a grin.

Nicholas Ho, 36

Apparently, the Rose Gold colour doesn't appeal to everyone. Nicholas Ho wants the iPhone 6s but he isn't that keen to let everyone know he's holding the fancy new phone. And of course, the Rose Gold colour will be a dead giveaway given his frequent trips to China. But of all the features that he's seen, Ho clearly likes the Live Photos function. "It captures the moment rather than the shot," he said. Ho also added that he won't mind the iPhone Upgrade Program that's only available in the US, since it gives him a new iPhone every year for a monthly subscription.