A man from the southern Indian state of Kerala travelled thousands of miles to Dubai to buy the latest iPhone, hours before it went on sale in India.
Dheeraj Palliyil flew abroad to buy the iPhone 14 Pro last week in a bid to become one of the first few in the world to own the new phone.
He spent 40,000 rupees ($500; £439) on his tickets, and another 129,000 rupees to buy the new model.
The iPhone is arguably one of the most coveted smartphones in the world.
First launched by Apple in 2007, the phone has revolutionised mobile technology, and is one of the major reasons behind the company’s gigantic success.
Over the years, fans have gone to great lengths to buy its latest models – many also consider owning the phone to be a status symbol. There have been reports of people selling their organs and waiting hundreds of hours in queues outside Apple stores on the day of the phone’s launch.
But Mr Palliyil, 28, is no stranger to the hype – this is the fourth time that he has travelled to Dubai just to buy the phone ahead of others.
The first time was in 2017, when the iPhone 8 was launched, followed by trips in 2019 and 2021.
He says he “didn’t want to wait” and that he “loves the excitement of waiting outside an Apple store to be among the first to get the phone”.
Mr Palliyi bought his latest iPhone from a shopping mall in Dubai on 16 September.
“During previous iPhone launches, the phone would usually release in India 10-15 days after its sale abroad. This time however, the India sale was to begin just a few hours later, but it has become my ritual now to buy the latest phone in Dubai,” he says.
Mr Palliyil, a cinematographer and a businessman, says he has always been a technology enthusiast and is greatly inspired by Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple who died in 2011.
“This is my way of commemorating his work,” he adds.
When asked his family’s reaction to his trips, Mr Palliyil says that earlier they didn’t quite understand why he did this.
“They would tease me for wasting money on luxury goods,” he says. “I would always tell them that this is not just about buying an expensive product.”
His family eventually relented – and now supports him, he says.
“In fact, they are the ones who alert me about new phone launches and ask me when I’m going to fly to Dubai to buy it.”