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|A Chinese couple tests the new iPhone 7 after collecting their latest device from an Apple store in Shanghai yesterday. — AFP Apple fans from Shanghai to Sydney Nike Air Max 97 Italia , the first customers worldwide to snap up the new iPhone 7, cheered as they left stores yesterday brandishing their purchases, flanked by applauding sales staff.
But underneath the usual fanfare, the crowds of enthusiasts and overnight campers were smaller than in past years.
In part, online pre-ordering has made queues unnecessary for all but diehard fans, and in Chinese stores only those who had ordered in advance were queuing to collect.
Yet in markets like China online interest in the new phone has also been muted compared to past launches Nike Air Max 270 Donne Italia , as cheaper local brands amp up their features, design and marketing.
The iPhone 7, which Apple claims is splash and water resistant, features faster chips and wireless headphones. It costs from 5,388 yuan (US$816) in China while the iPhone 7 Plus, which has two cameras Nike Air Max 270 Uomo Italia , starts at 6,388 yuan.
Wu Ting, a 28-year-old from Nanjing, was surprised to find herself first in line at a downtown Apple store in Shanghai yesterday.
“I found last year that there were crowds of people, but this year almost no one. I came an hour early thinking I’d have to wait a long time before getting seen,” Wu said.
Li Jun Nike Air Max 270 Italia , a Shanghai designer, paid online for a jet black iPhone 128GB because it had “the fastest chip, best camera and a nice design.”
Sales in China will be the acid test for Apple’s year ahead. The success of the iPhone 6 in China drove sales last year, while the slower-burn 6S contributed to Apple’s first global revenue drop in over a decade earlier this year.
Chatter about the iPhone 7 launch on Weibo has been far more muted than when the
iPhone 6 debuted in 2014. An index of searches on Baidu Inc, China’s most popular search engine, shows the new phone lagging behind both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5.
Apple’s China sales dropped by a third in April-June Nike Air Force 1 Just Do It Italia , albeit after more than doubling a year earlier, while its market share has fallen to around 7.8 percent, placing it fifth behind local rivals Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.
Apple has been slower to adapt, consumers and analysts say — the new iPhone has few major changes to win over fickle shoppers and the firm’s marketing has been generic.
“From Steve Jobs to Tim Cook, Apple has never had any marketing strategy tailor-made for China Nike Air Huarache Just Do It Italia ,” said Zhou Zhanggui, a strategic consultant. “Apple risks losing out more if it does not better cater to local demands in its marketing as well as product design.”
However, Credit Suisse said it expects Apple to sell 215 million iPhones this year and 221 million units in 2017.
In Beijing’s fashionable Sanlitun shopping district, several people who had already grabbed new iPhone 7s were hawking them for a markup just outside a flagship store.
Scalpers were out in Shanghai, too, offering the new phones at a premium of 500-2 Nike Air Presto Just Do It Italia ,500 yuan.
There has been much chatter among Apple fans since the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were unveiled about the decision to eliminate headphone jacks and embrace a wireless future. But yesterday most talk focused on supply issues.
Apple shares finished up 3.4 percent at US$115.56 on Thursday as the firm said the iPhone 7 Plus and jet black version of the iPhone 7 had already sold out in pre-orders.
The Cannes film festival kicks off its 70th birthday edition on Wednesday with A-listers including Nicole Kidman, Clint Eastwood and Will Smith jetting in for the 12-day movie marathon.
The gathering on the southern French coast, where 19 films will be vying for the coveted Palme d'Or top prize and hundreds more will be screened, also comes with a higher security status than in previous years.
Ten months after a truck attack in nearby Nice killed 86 people, concrete barriers -- in the form of giant flower pots -- have been set up to try to block any similar assault. Snipers have been positioned above sensitive sites for what is the world's biggest film festival.
Patrick Mairesse, a top regional security official Nike Air Max 95 Just Do It Italia , said the objective was to be as ""invisible as possible, to cause as little nuisance as possible -- so the party can stay a party.""
But unprecedented numbers of police and soldiers have been deployed and a French warship lies at anchor off the beach.
Airport-style security gates and bag searches are also in operation at the festival, which attracts tens of thousands of curious tourists as well as the Hollywood elite.
France remains under a state of emergency following the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, one of several jihadist assaults that have claimed 239 lives nationwide in the past two years.
Despite the tough measures, glamour reigns on the palm-fringed Croisette promenade along the glittering Mediterranean coast.
Hardcore fans started setting up stepladders outside the Palais des Festivals venue a full 24 hours early, hoping for selfies as their favourite stars head down the red carpet.
Spanish director Pedro Almodovar will be leading the competition jury Nike Air Max Plus Just Do It Italia , which also includes Smith, ""Interstellar"" star Jessica Chastain, and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
- Netflix furore -
This year's Cannes programme points to changes shaking up the film industry, including the march on Hollywood by streaming giants Netflix and Amazon and the arrival of virtual reality.
A row over Netflix, which has hailed Cannes' acceptance of two of its movies as proof of its new status as a major industry player, dominated the run-up to the festival.
The US platform has refused to screen the two movies in French cinemas due to strict rules that mean films cannot be streamed from subscription services in France until three years after their traditional box office release.
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