Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Thousands crowd iPhone launch in Singapore

July 11, 2009: 1:18 PM ET

sc009Steve Jobs is not the only one who knows a thing or two about event marketing. Check out Damian Koh's photos of the launch of the new iPhone 3GS in Singapore Friday night.

By 8 p.m., according to SingTel, Apple's (AAPL) exclusive local carrier, between 1,500 and 2,000 eager customers had gathered outside company headquarters for the festivities, with many more expected over next two days.

"On average," executive vice president Yuen Kuan Moon told Channel NewsAsia, "a customer during the peak period will queue between anywhere for three to four hours."

Jackson Low. Photo by Damian KohSome people waited a lot longer than that. Jackson Low, 29, a medical test subject recruiter, was second in line for the iPhone 3G last year. Just to be sure, he arrived 11 hours early this year and was both first in line and first to walk out of SingTel headquarters with a new iPhone 3GS. (See photo, left.)

To help build excitement -- and swell the crowd -- SingTel staged fireworks and a confetti drop worthy of a Republican National Convention. Waiting customers were ushered through three "experience zones" to keep them entertained.

Felicia Chin. Photo by Damian Koh/CNET AsiaBut the biggest draw -- besides the iPhone itself -- may have been the presence of television actress Felicia Chin (right) one of Singapore's top 10 most popular "female artistes" for three years, according to Star Awards, and winner of two of 2008's top 8 most likeable female characters (Lin Fei in The Golden Path and Tao Haitong in Love Blossoms).

Koh caught Chin in a quiet moment with a new iPhone 3GS for which we suspect she didn't have to wait in line. Or, for that matter, pay for.

Thanks to iPhone Asia's Dan Butterfield for the tip.

Photos courtesy of Damian Koh.

UPDATE: It turns out the photos don't quite do justice to the magnitude of the event. For a video shot by one of the first customers in line, see 3GS insanity in Singapore.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for

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