iPhone XR goes on sale around the world, but fans stay home – CNET

The Apple Store in Sydney is normally a hive of activity on iPhone launch day, but in the hour before opening its doors for Day 1 of iPhone XR sales, the usual queues were nowhere to be seen.

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The latest iPhone has gone on sale around the world, but people are staying at home.

Apple Stores in Australia opened their doors on Friday for the first day of selling the iPhone XR, and while Apple has offered something a little different on previous launches — more colors, arguably the best bang for your buck from the iPhone in years — the queues were nowhere to be seen.

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At the Apple Store in Sydney, in the middle of the city, the store was quiet in the hour before doors opened. Where previously (as recently as the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max launch in last month) crowds had queued around the corner to buy Apple's newest phone, just a handful of people were waiting.

According to staff at the store, most customers were coming in to pick up pre-orders at pre-allocated times throughout the day (a system that Apple has also had in place for previous launches).

It could also be that queueing is becoming less necessary. Wait times for those who order the iPhone XR online in the US are three to five days rather than the weeks we've seen with some launches in the past. It could be that the lower-priced, colorful iPhone XR is pulling in people looking to upgrade a 3-year-old model, or those looking for a less pricey phone for their kids. That could also be why the YouTube iPhone unboxers (and those who buy the phone to quickly flip it) were nowhere to be seen.


The White and Product (RED) iPhone XR in Apple's Sydney store.

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Apple's newest iPhone may have had to follow behind the iPhone XS, which went on sale in September, but it still gives Apple fans a way to trade up to a new iPhone without having to push up to the $1,000 mark for the iPhone XS (or stretch their hands and their budgets for the larger iPhone XS Max, which starts at $1,099).

And while the iPhone XS launch saw buyers ponying up for premium features like the Super Retina display and dual 12-megapixel rear cameras, the iPhone XR still has its own selling points. CNET's Scott Stein says the XR still delivers most of the iPhone X and XS features, including an excellent big screen, fast performance, Face ID and wireless charging, and a camera that's mostly as good as the iPhone XS.

You can read our full iPhone XR review and the specs on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max here.

But despite the positive reviews and lower price, that may not have been enough to pull superfans out for the second iPhone launch in 2018, especially after they've seen a decade of iPhone launch days.


First in the pre-order line at the Apple Store in Sydney, Rosa van de Pol picked up a black iPhone XR for her husband.

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But that was no deterrent for those who did show up. First in line for her pre-order was 23-year-old paralegal Rosa van de Pol, who was buying a black iPhone XR for her husband "mainly because of the price point."

"I think it was a good option, compared to the other phones that came out," she said. "The whole phone is the screen, so that's great."

But van de Pol admitted that considering the lack of queue, getting down to the store half-an-hour early "was a bit of overkill."

The iPhone XR is going on sale around the world on Friday — stay tuned to CNET for updates as more stores open their doors.

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