Little retail buzz in HK over iPhone 11

Top News | Sophie Hui and AFP 12 Sep 2019

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 11, which features a price cut for the most basic models, while also laying out plans for streaming and gaming services as it bids to weather the slump in the global smartphone market.

Price appeared to be a key consideration as the tech giant reduced the entry level cost for the iPhone 11 to US$699 (HK$5,452) and undercut rivals for its gaming and streaming television subscriptions.

Apple unveiled three versions of the iPhone 11, including "Pro" models, which come with a triple camera and other advanced features starting at US$999 and US$1,099. While the cost is unchanged from last year, Apple touted upgraded features, such as ultra-wide camera lenses.

The big surprise from Apple was the reduction in the starting price at US$699, down from US$749 for the iPhone XR a year ago, even though many premium devices are being priced at around US$1,000.

The new iPhones are "jam-packed with new capabilities and an incredible new design," Apple chief Tim Cook said at the launch event as the firm announced plans to start selling the new iPhones on September 20.

Consumers in Hong Kong can reserve the new iPhones online from 8pm tomorrow.

According to its Hong Kong website, an iPhone 11 starts at HK$5,999, while the iPhone 11 Pro starts at HK$8,599. The 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at HK$9,499.

Alex Yeung Hung-kei, a smartphone retailer at Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok, expects the room for speculation will be small.

"Last year, the scalping of iPhone XRs only lasted for a day, so we are conservative this year," he said.

"But after the announcement, some people have asked about midnight green, so I think people may speculate this color of the iPhone 11 Pro Max."

He believes the price of a midnight green iPhone 11 Pro Max could be HK$1,000 to HK$2,000 higher, but only on the first day of the device's release.

The scalping price will also depend on supply, Yeung added. He said there were no surprises on the designs and felt that the three cameras on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro do not make it attractive enough.

"Huawei has a four-camera phone," he said.

Apple set launch dates for its original video offering, Apple TV+, and game subscription service as part of an effort to reduce its dependence on iPhone sales.

The TV+ service will launch on November 1 in more than 100 countries at US$4.99 a month and will include a "powerful and inspiring line-up of original shows, movies and documentaries."

The company's online gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, will launch next week and offer exclusive titles for mobile and desktop users.

The new service - at US$4.99 a month - will include more than 100 game titles made for Apple devices and will be available in about 150 countries.

"You can't find these games on any other mobile platform or subscription service," Apple product manager Ann Thai said at the launch.

Despite this, Yeung does not think the new streaming and gaming services will attract more iPhone buyers in Hong Kong.

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