Long lines for iPhone X help push Apple shares to record high

trillionLines formed outside Apple stores across the world today as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone X, signaling stronger demand for the 10th anniversary version of the phone than the last two iterations. Investors and analysts took the surge of interest, alongside a better-than-expected sales forecast for the upcoming holiday shopping season, as signs that Apple could be the first company worth $1 trillion.

The company’s shares rose 2%, hitting a record high and giving the world’s most valuable publicly traded company a market capitalisation of almost $890bn.

The glass-and-stainless-steel device that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has billed as “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone,” starts at £999. It features an edge-to-edge display designed for deeper colour rendition and an innovative camera that uses facial recognition to unlock and operate the phone.

In Australia, around 400 people queued outside Apple’s main store in central Sydney; just 30 turned up for the September release of the iPhone 8, an incremental update of the iPhone 7. In Apple’s Omotesando store in Tokyo, some 550 people were waiting in a line stretching to around 600 meters. In Europe, Apple stores in Amsterdam, Berlin and London saw lines of several hundred fans, while smaller, more subdued crowds were observed at stores in Frankfurt and Paris.

Arbitrage traders were also in line in an attempt to take advantage of the strong demand. In Hong Kong, some buyers quickly resold iPhone X handsets for a profit, but the resale premium dropped as waiting times fell and supply concerns eased. Analysts had expressed concern that supply issues might stop Apple satisfying early demand. The camera, for instance, has never before been manufactured in the volume Apple demands.

Demand and supply for the iPhone X appear to be coming back into balance, according to Apple’s online store. While last week users trying to order the iPhone X were told they faced waits up to five to six weeks, these delays are now three to four weeks.

The rush of interest in the new phone came after Apple issued an upbeat sales forecast for the year-end holiday shopping season on Thursday. Wall Street welcomed that outlook, and five analysts now have stock price targets that would move Apple’s market value past $1 trillion.