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Consumers

Hong Kong smartphone traders ‘not impressed’ by iPhone 7 release

Apple’s latest offering, which is set to hit stores on September 16, has received mixed reactions from local dealers

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 September, 2016, 12:55am

Despite Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan being among the first batch of regions to get their hands on the new iPhone 7, local secondary-market traders remained sceptical over the smartphone’s upgrades and pricing.

Apple unveiled its new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 yesterday. The release is widely expected to boost smartphone and smartwatch sales around the world after a damaging Samsung Electronics product recall and a global economic slowdown.

Apple also confirmed it will extend its year-old iPhone upgrade programme to the mainland, allowing Chinese consumers to purchase an unlocked iPhone or iPhone 7 Plus from the company’s online store and branded shops.

Those who sign up for the programme pay for the phone via monthly payments, can select their own telecommunications network operator and can upgrade their device every year.

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While pricing for the mainland was not disclosed, monthly payments in the US start at US$32. A spokesman said Hong Kong was not included in the programme.

“I think this is a big deal and makes a lot of sense for the rising middle class in mainland China,” Ben Bajarin, from Silicon Valley consulting firm Creative Strategies, said.

“Instead of spending one huge lump sum, those consumers can use their discretionary spending to pay a smaller monthly amount to get a new iPhone each year.”

Apple will accept pre-orders for the iPhone from today, according to the firm’s website. The new models are set to be available in Hong Kong, the mainland at Taiwan from September 16.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the first dust and water-resistant handsets from Apple. Other features include a faster processor, longer battery life, wireless earphones and advanced camera capabilities.

Prices start from HK$5,588, with storage capacity options of 32GB, 128GB and 256GB.

The updated Apple Watch Series 2 was also launched with a built-in Global Positioning System among other upgrades. Prices start at HK$2,888.

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But despite the fanfare surrounding Apple’s latest offering, Hong Kong smartphone traders remained sceptical of the new models’ pricing and upgrades.

The owner of LIKE at Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok, who identified himself as Peter, said he was “not impressed” by the new model.

“If I was a buyer, I probably would not pay an extra HK$2,000 just to get my hands on the new iPhone before anyone else,” he said.

Of the new models, Lau Chi-kong, owner of G-World Mobile at Sin Tat Plaza, said he expected more sales of the iPhone 7 Plus, which comes with a dual camera and presents better value for phone traders.

“The margins will be about HK$1,000 to HK$2,000,” Lau said.

Lau said the new models were only a slight upgrade from the iPhone 6s, and he doubted there would be much of a market frenzy beyond the first day of trading.

“But there could be a market for certain devices,” he said.

“The iPhone 7 Plus in jet black could be quite sought after.”