updated 12:58 am EDT, Fri September 21, 2012
Brother and sister become first retail buyers, wait 68 hours in line
The first retail-store buyers of an iPhone 5 on Earth were a pair of siblings and a member of the staff of a mobile phone enthusiast site in Sydney, Australia, which by virtue of its proximity to the International Date Line became the first of the nine countries allowed to sell the new iPhone on Friday morning, local time. Some people, including paid line-standers and those advertising for various companies or causes, stood in line as long as 68 hours when queues started forming on Tuesday for the hit smartphone.
The Wall Street Journal said in its report that enthusiasm for the iPhone 5 was such that online betting sites were taking wagers on the length of the line and what apps would be the most downloaded. Todd Foot of Mobilephonefinder, one of the first to purchase at the George Street flagship store, said he had already discovered that the much-criticized Maps application placed the store across the street from its actual location, ironically where a popular candy store is. Buyers James and Tamsyn Vohradsky, who were the first to emerge from the store with the coveted iPhones, waited about 17 hours in line and were near the front, reports ZDNet Australia.
Lines at the store were said to be hundreds of people long, stretching around the block. The city's stores opened their doors at 8AM, the earliest time in the state of New South Wales. Queensland and Victoria, host to three other Apple Stores each, along with NSW are 18 hours ahead of US Eastern Time, and 10 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Despite tech pundits and enthusiasts spoiled by early photos and specs on the new device, the reaction from the public and reviewers worldwide has been strong, even in the face of criticism on the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time replacement Maps app. Customers, particularly those who signed contracts in droves two years ago for the iPhone 4, seem thrilled about the doubled speed, the remarkable reduction in weight and size, the larger screen, iOS 6 and other features found on the device.
The Vohradsky siblings had also been in line in Sydney a year earlier for the iPhone 4S, though they were not the first to get one, according to local newspaper accounts. Australians who pre-ordered the phones began receiving them as early as a day ahead of their official debut. [Photos via ZDNet Australia]