Tim Cook just showed up at a Palo Alto Apple Store as new iPhones go on sale

  • Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max went on sale at stores on Friday.
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook has been known to stop by in honor of the fall iPhone release.
  • The traditionally long queues were missing at some flagship Apple locations

Apple's iPhone XS and XS Max went on sale at stores on Friday, and CEO Tim Cook showed up at a Palo Alto store to usher in some of the first shoppers.

Apple's top executive has been known to stop by in honor of the fall iPhone release. The company announced three new models of its flagship handset earlier this month: the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max — Apple's biggest and most expensive handset to date — and lower-priced iPhone XR, which doesn't go on sale until next month.

The new Apple Watch Series 4, with a bigger screen and new health features, also goes on sale Friday.

Though the traditionally long queues were missing at some flagship Apple locations, people lined up outside the Apple store in Palo Alto, California, were greeted by applause and CEO Cook.

At Apple's flagship London store on Regent Street, about 25 people queued up as of around 6 a.m. local time. Some people were queuing up from 7.30 p.m. London time on Thursday.

Shoppers queue up outside Apple's store in Regent Street, London, for the new iPhone models.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC
Shoppers queue up outside Apple's store in Regent Street, London, for the new iPhone models.

The queue was significantly smaller than last year.

Outside the Orchard Road Apple store in Singapore the story was very different. Photos posted on social media show several hundred people waiting for the new devices.

Dubai's Apple store witnessed a similar story.

Despite the lack of people turning up to buy the latest iPhones in London, reception to the devices have been strong. Most customers CNBC spoke to in London were ready to purchase the iPhone XS Max which starts at £1,099 in the U.K. and $1,099 in the U.S.

Many people in the queue said the price was not a concern because of the importance of the smartphone in today's world.

"You're using your phone everyday, you see it every time," Gowrishankar Palanivel, a buyer who had been in the queue since Thursday evening, told CNBC.

The short queues in London could be attributed to a number of factors. Last year, the iPhone X was in short supply, so people wanted to get their hands on the device as soon as it was released in store. This year however, the iPhone XS and XS Max are not suffering delays. Also, the iPhone XR — the cheaper iPhone — go on sale in October, so customers wanting that device may have decided to skip the early morning queues.

Shoppers queue up outside Apple's store in Regent Street, London, for the new iPhone models.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC
Shoppers queue up outside Apple's store in Regent Street, London, for the new iPhone models.

Analysts are hoping that the new set of Apple devices can help the company continue to grow revenues and also the key metric of average selling price.

Counterpoint Research estimates that Apple will ship around 190 million units of the three new iPhones by next September. The firm expects the XR model to account for around 50 percent of this, the XS about a third and the XS Max the remainder.

Many analysts have also raised their average selling price estimates. Morgan Stanley said it expects an iPhone ASP of $793 in the year ending September 2019, up 6 percent year on year versus its prior estimate of $739. Apple reported an ASP of $724 in the three months ended June 30.

—CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.

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