The usual excitement surrounding the launch of an Apple device was evident at electronics stores in the city on Friday evening, where the iPhone 5 went on sale at the company-ordained special time of 7.01 p.m.
But there was also disappointment in store for several hardcore fans. “I had pre-booked the iPhone 5 thinking I wouldn’t have to stand in queues,” Narayanan Hariharan, a city-based entrepreneur said. “But the store asked me to come back tomorrow. Also, they did not have the colour I ordered.”
According to sources, just three major retailers in the city received substantial stocks. The sales are expected to be streamlined from Saturday.
A premium mobile handset, the iPhone has its own cult following even in Chennai. Some fans are aware that some of its unique features — 4G LTE connectivity and Siri for instance — are not yet available for India. “The bottom line is that it is a better phone,” Hariharan said. “I have been using Android mobiles for some time now. But I have to make the shift to the iPhone because of the biggest grouse about Android – its battery life.”
A few others like Karthik Kamalakannan, who runs a technology blog, www.the4cast.com, have been faithful iPhone users for a while now. He has every alternate generation of the iPhone following the launch of the original smartphone in 2007. “I paid a token advance to three retailers but none of them could deliver it today,” he said.
Celebrities from the Tamil film world turned up at the launch parties organised by the retailers – Univercell and Mobile Zone – and the ones organised by the service providers – Airtel and Aircel – to launch the phone.
Satish Babu, founder and managing director of Univercell, said the response to the launch had been a “roaring” success. Suresh P. Jumani of Mobile Zone said he had sold 50 iPhone 5s in less than three hours.
The device is also important for mobile service providers as it encourages more data usage because of its popular Apps. Vikas Singh, CEO for Airtel (Kerala and TN) launched the phone at the company showroom, said data usage patterns in the country were doubling every six months, fuelled by the introduction of smartphones. K. Sankara Narayanan, circle head for Aircel, said mobile users were at the cusp of a data revolution.