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New York - iPhone 5 Launch Draws Apple Fans Worldwide

Published on: September 21, 2012 11:47 AM
By: AP
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An Apple employee riles up his coworkers outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store to celebrate the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)An Apple employee riles up his coworkers outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store to celebrate the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York -  In a now familiar global ritual, Apple fans jammed shops across the globe to pick up the tech juggernaut’s latest iPhone.

Eager buyers formed long lines Friday at Apple Inc. stores in Asia, Europe and North America to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone.

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In New York, several hundred people lined up outside Apple’s 5th Avenue store. Jimmy Peralta, a 30-year-old business management student, waited three hours before getting the chance to buy his new gadget. Was it worth the wait?

“Definitely,” he said, noting that the new phone’s larger screen and lighter weight compelled him to upgrade from the iPhone 4. “A little treat for me on a Friday morning, why not. Why not be part of something fantastic? It’s just such a smart phone it does all the thinking for you, you can’t get any easier than that.”

Catheryne Caveed, 23, was in line at a Verizon store in the Queens borough of New York. An iPhone 4 user, she had no regrets about skipping last year’s model, the iPhone 4S. The only real upgrade in the 4S, she said, was Siri, the voice-controlled “personal assistant.”

“The 4S looked the same as the 4,” Caveed said. With the 5, “everything is different - even the headphones.”

Greg Packer, 49, is cheered on as he celebrates with his newly purchased iPhone 5 in hand outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Greg Packer, 49, is cheered on as he celebrates with his newly purchased iPhone 5 in hand outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Apple’s stock was up less than one percent, or $5.61, to $704.23 in late morning trading.

Earlier, in London, some shoppers had camped out for a week in a queue that snaked around the block. In Hong Kong, the first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” and high-fiving them as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door.

The smartphone will be on sale in the U.S. and Canada hours after its launch in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain, France and Germany. It will launch in 22 more countries a week later. The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster “fourth generation” mobile networks.

The handset has become a hot seller despite a new map app that early users have deemed inferior to Google Maps, the software it replaces. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.

In a sign of the intense demand, police in Osaka, Japan, were investigating the theft of nearly 200 iPhones 5s, including 116 from one shop alone, Kyodo News reported. In London, police sought help finding a man wanted in connection with the theft of 252 iPhone 5s from a shop in Wimbledon early Friday morning.

Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.

Some fans went to extremes to be among the first buyers by arriving at Apple’s flagship stores day ahead of the release.

In downtown Sydney, Todd Foot, 24, showed up three days early to nab the coveted first spot. He spent about 18 hours a day in a folding chair, catching a few hours’ sleep each night in a tent on the sidewalk.

Foot’s dedication was largely a marketing stunt, however. He writes product reviews for a technology website that will give away the phone after Foot reviews it.

“I just want to get the phone so I can feel it, compare it and put it on our website,” he said while slumped in his chair.

In Paris, the phone launch was accompanied by a workers’ protest - a couple dozen former and current Apple employees demonstrated peacefully to demand better work benefits. Some decried what they called Apple’s transformation from an offbeat company into a multinational powerhouse.

But the protesters - urged by a small labor union to demonstrate at Apple stores around France - were far outnumbered by lines of would-be buyers on the sidewalk outside the store near the city’s gilded opera house.

Not everyone lining up at the various Apple stores was an enthusiast, though. In Hong Kong, university student Kevin Wong, waiting to buy a black 16 gigabyte model for 5,588 Hong Kong dollars ($720), said he was getting one “for the cash.” He planned to immediately resell it to one of the numerous grey market retailers catering to mainland Chinese buyers. China is one of Apple’s fastest growing markets but a release date for the iPhone 5 there has not yet been set.

Wong was required to give his local identity card number when he signed up for his iPhone on Apple’s website. The requirement prevents purchases by tourists including mainland Chinese, who have a reputation for scooping up high-end goods on trips to Hong Kong because there’s no sales tax and because of the strength of China’s currency. Even so, the mainlanders will probably buy it from the resellers “at a higher price - a way higher price,” said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1,000 ($129).

A similar money-making strategy was being pursued in London, where many in the crowds - largely from the city’s extensive Asian community - planned to either send the phones to family and friends back home as gifts or sell them in countries where they are much more expensive.

“It makes a really nice gift to family back home,” said Muhammad Alum, 30, a minicab driver from Bangladesh. “It will be two or three weeks before there is a SIM card there that can work it, but it’s coming soon.”

Others who had waited overnight said the iPhones cost roughly twice as much in India as in Britain, making them very welcome as gifts.

Tokyo’s glitzy downtown Ginza district not only had a long line in front of the Apple store, but another across the main intersection at Softbank, the first carrier in Japan to offer iPhones.

Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he’s an Apple fan because it’s an innovator.

“I love Apple,” he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.

“It’s only the iPhone for me.”


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1

 Sep 21, 2012 at 12:07 PM Vasserman Says:

Highly over rated. Todays DROID is far better.

2

 Sep 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM benny45 Says:

I don't understan these people, if you buy it in the apple store it costs roughly three times as much than when you sign up with a cellphone company.
So I guess all these people have existing contracts and are willing to spend $600-$700 just to upgrade? That's real loyalty.

3

 Sep 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM Aryeh Says:

Fastest processor, highest resolution screen, very low price, best phone available and the best value.

4

 Sep 21, 2012 at 01:23 PM Sociologist Says:

Reply to #1  
Vasserman Says:

Highly over rated. Todays DROID is far better.

Droid is an unstable platform because Google allows all of the handset manufacturers to tinker with it. iOS6 is amazing. Also, having access to the folks in the Apple Stores is very helpful vs. the morons who work in the Verizon or ATT stores. I have migrated my firm to Apple because of product reliability and the high level of service.

5

 Sep 21, 2012 at 01:31 PM vbtwo Says:

Reply to #2  
benny45 Says:

I don't understan these people, if you buy it in the apple store it costs roughly three times as much than when you sign up with a cellphone company.
So I guess all these people have existing contracts and are willing to spend $600-$700 just to upgrade? That's real loyalty.

It costs exactly the same to buy it in the Apple store as it does to buy from a carrier store. You still sign up for the same 2 year contract and pay the same price.

6

 Sep 21, 2012 at 01:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Vanilla ice cream is much better

7

 Sep 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM ShmuelG Says:

iPhone is nothing more then very belated response to Galaxy S3, and is still far inferior to it, in terms of speed, response, ease of use, screen size, it feels like going back to 2010.

8

 Sep 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Sociologist Says:

Droid is an unstable platform because Google allows all of the handset manufacturers to tinker with it. iOS6 is amazing. Also, having access to the folks in the Apple Stores is very helpful vs. the morons who work in the Verizon or ATT stores. I have migrated my firm to Apple because of product reliability and the high level of service.

The iphone is perfect for people like you who aren't as advanced technologically as Android users. I am basing this on your "support visits" to the Apple store. Generally people running Android would be able to resolve similar issues you are having with your iphone by themselves without having to go in to a store for "support". I've had an Android phone basically since it came out and I've never once had to go in for "support".

Android is highly customizable while the iphone forces you to only use their content. You also have a choice of phones that run Android.

Basically iphones are good for people with a lower level of sophistication who are unable to get the most out of their Android phones.

9

 Sep 21, 2012 at 04:29 PM heshysquirtz Says:

Jimmy Kimmel (who?) has a great skit where he solicits feedback on the iPhone 5 - but he's giving people the iPhone 4 to try instead. Consensus is that the iPhone 4 is faster, sleeker, stronger and has a bigger screen than the iPhone 4. These are sick people.

10

 Sep 21, 2012 at 05:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

The iphone is perfect for people like you who aren't as advanced technologically as Android users. I am basing this on your "support visits" to the Apple store. Generally people running Android would be able to resolve similar issues you are having with your iphone by themselves without having to go in to a store for "support". I've had an Android phone basically since it came out and I've never once had to go in for "support".

Android is highly customizable while the iphone forces you to only use their content. You also have a choice of phones that run Android.

Basically iphones are good for people with a lower level of sophistication who are unable to get the most out of their Android phones.

And yet all these "unsophisticated" technically inept iPhone users - and Mac computer users BTW - are consistently found to be in the highest demographics of disposable income AND education. I own both an Android phone and an iPhone. And you can arguably do a lot of the same stuff in Android, but some things are really implemented in a counterintuitive, backhanded way. (And yes, I've seen and heard my share of silly people at Genius Bars, but also some incredibly bright ones, both customers and Geniuses.)

11

 Sep 23, 2012 at 06:29 AM Foreigner from Foreignland Says:

You American Jews are bickering over the relative merits of two cell phones with the same vigor as you are fighting over the two candidates for president of your country!

12

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