There were no pitched-up tents, sleeping bags nor snaking queues like those seen in neighbouring Singapore but Apple enthusiasts in Brunei were not left behind in forking out more than a thousand dollars for the latest phone released by the tech giant.

Though yet to be officially launched in the sultanate, the iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) is already being offered by local third-party retailers for pre-booking. Among them is the DeeJay branch in Gadong, which said that all 22 units it had brought in have already been booked.

Friday, however, saw the launching of the X’s predecessor, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in Brunei. Official Apple distributors, AV Electronics and DST, say sales have been steady for the model, which launched more than a month ago elsewhere in the region.

The first iPhone 8 buyer at DST’s official launch yesterday. Photo: Courtesy of DST Communications

“We’re happy to let you know that our debut of the [iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus] packages were received positively with numerous customer inquiries and consequently sales,” Hj Ahmad Aiman Hj Awang Besar of DST’s Strategic Marketing told The Scoop.

The telco yesterday launched its bundle plans for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus exclusively at its DST Airport Mall branch. However, the postpaid plans will soon be made available at other DST branches nationwide starting Monday, November 6. Customers can also buy the phone contract-free.

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Meanwhile, the Wywy branch at The Mall in Gadong started selling the iPhone 8 models a month ago with the 64-gigabyte iPhone 8 retailing at $1,058. “It’s one of the most sought-after phones,” a Wywy sales attendant said.

According to the sales attendant who wished to remain anonymous, most of their iPhone 8 buyers are within the 25 – 35 age group.

Taking things one step ahead of the rest of Brunei, the DeeJay branch in Gadong has already started selling the iPhone X model today. All 22 units that DeeJay has brought in have been booked, according to sales assistant Syifa.

“Bruneians like the iPhone. We’re already taking preorders for second batch of iPhone X,” she said. Once preordered, it will take up to two weeks for the phone to arrive, she said.

Retailing over $1,000 more than the iPhone 8, the iPhone X is to date the priciest iPhone model. On Friday, Singapore’s Apple Store in Orchard Road saw hordes of people lining up as early as 8am for the unveiling of the iPhone X.

According to The Straits Times report, there was an estimated 800 people queueing up for the much anticipated launch, which was 200 more than the crowd which lined up for September’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus launch.

Bruneians like the iPhone. We’re already taking preorders for second batch of iPhone X.

It has not been disclosed when Brunei will officially launch the iPhone X, but the co-founder of Geekturf, an online technology news website for Brunei, said that it is safe to assume end of November or early December.

Asked why he thinks the new iPhone models are well-received despite its price tag, Al-Haadi Abu Bakar noted that the Apple brand has built a strong loyalty base.

“The iPhone handsets nowadays may not be the most cutting edge compared to rival brands like Google and Samsung, but it’s still the most reliable… I think this is the most important thing people look for in a phone.”

He added that thanks to Apple’s aggressive marketing campaign, the iPhone is popular amongst millennials. “Apple is always targeting them through their advertisements and it always emphasises lifestyle rather than technology which is why millennials associate it as a lifestyle brand.”