MANILA—The latest Apple iPhone 14 model had hundreds of people camping outside a mall in Makati City before it was released on Friday midnight.
Nearly 200 people queued outside the Power Mac Center (PMC) in Greenbelt 3 Mall, with some even having spent the night lining up so they could be among the first to get their hands on the latest gadget.
Customers that lined up said the gadget store distributed food while they waited. Zack Tabudlo and Sarah Geronimo performed at the launch to keep iPhone buyers entertained.
The latest Apple phone, the cost of which starts at P61,000, can make most people assume that the eager throng of customers consists of individuals raking in cash.
But on the contrary, the man at the very front of the line is a blue-collar worker who pinched pennies for more than a year.
“Sales lang ako. Pangarap ko maka iPhone. Tiniis ko po budget budget para makabili bago. Kasi love ko talaga,” Joey Reyes, a mall staff in Manila said.
“Tipid talaga: pagkain, pamasahe, at gastusin. 'Yung mga kaibigan sa trabaho nanghihingi lang ako ulam. 'Yung pang bili ng ulam nilalagay ko sa alkansya ko. Minsan nakiki-angkas sa katrabaho. Nag-ambag din ibang kaibigan ko.”
Reyes revealed it was actually his second time to pioneer the line for the gadget at the branch. In 2019, he shared he was also the first to purchase the iPhone 11.
But the latest model did not last in his pocket. In an unfortunate turn of events, Reyes said the gadget was stolen from him.
“Yung cellphone ko 'yung una iPhone 11 nanakaw ... pauwi na ko malakas ulan. 'Di ko namalayan yung celphone ko nahablot na pala,” he recalled.
The sales staff began waiting outside the store at around 7 a.m. on October 12, making his total waiting time around 41 hours.
“Challenge sa madaling araw mainit at malamok. Mahirap 'yung tulugan na. Di naman pwede magdala kumot. Para makatulog ka maayos, nagdala ko ng carton,” he described.
“Pero sulit … the best kasi iPhone 14 worth it. Magagamit ko 'yan sa trabaho.“
Reyes, however, clarified he did not only endure the heat and mosquitoes out of mere eagerness.
“'Pag una ka sa pila May surprise ka. 'Di ko pa alam laman, pero may freebies,” he explained.
Reyes, along with the first 50 customers, was given P28,000 worth of accessories from some of PMC's partner brands. Meanwhile, the 51st until the 150th customer were gifted P14,000 worth of freebies.
The store also gave P10,000 worth of freebies to the succeeding 100 customers, while P5,000 worth of goods was granted to the 251st until 500th customers.
According to the thrilled Apple enthusiast, the promo will greatly help his expenses.
“Hahatiin ko. Bebenta ko iba sa kaibigan ko or ka trabaho o kakilala. Para makabawi,” Reyes noted.
Meanwhile, second in line was Reyes’ fellow mall staff Crystal Gracie. The saleswoman admitted she will be breaking the bank with the purchase, but nevertheless decided to indulge herself as she had longed for the Apple gadget since the iPhone 4s came out more than a decade ago.
“Isis-wipe ng boss namin tapos babayaran namin boss ko. Mabait siya,” she gleefully explained.
“First time ko bumili iPhone. Para maranasan man lang mag iPhone. Kita na maganda features lalo ngayon,” she added.
Dennis Joe, another first-time Apple owner, was sixth in line.
Like Reyes, Joe had spent the night outside the store. And while the wait was long, the time he saved up for the latest model is even lengthier.
“Mga inabot ng 3 years (mag-ipon),” he said.
Joe had hoped to buy the earlier iPhone 11, 12 or 13 models in the previous years. The splurge, however, had to wait due to the fallout of the pandemic.
“Nagluluto ako ng puto. 'Yung bentahan humina kasi kita ng business,” he noted.
While it took the customers years before they were able to spoil themselves, the three early birds asserted they do not regret the wait as the latest model boasted new top-tier features.
Customers can choose from the iPhone 14 (starts at P61,990), iPhone 14 Plus (starts at P68,990), iPhone 14 Pro (starts at P76,990), and iPhone 14 Pro Max (starts at P83,990).
The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with an “innovative 48MP camera for mind-blowing detail” and “is powered by the “ultimate” smartphone chip.
Other features include:
-longer battery life
- Made of aerospace-grade aluminum
- Available in blue, purple, midnight, starlight, red
- Ceramic shield smartphone glass
- Crash detection- calls emergency services and notify your emergency contacts
- Highest quality photos and videos
- FaceID - facial recognition security feature
- A15 Bionic- 5 core GPU
- Display: Super Retina XDR display for iPhone 14 Plus