Since the rumours started months ago, Apple kept us on the edge of our seats wondering what they had in store for us with the newest iPhone. Since announcing that they would be releasing not one, but two new iPhones on 20th September 2013, Apple fans everywhere waited eagerly for the launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Some waited to order online, but others decided to brave the queues and head to one of the Apple stores early this morning if not before, to get the chance to own a brand new iPhone on the day of its launch.
Outside the Apple store in Regent Street an estimated 3,000 people queued all the way to Hanover Square for the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s this morning, some for days on end.
Among those were Noah Green, Harry Barrington-Mountford and Max Fisher who managed to secure themselves a place in the front five. The trio along with others started queuing as early as Monday 16th September, five days before the Launch date! When interviewed by the media the boys suggested that their motive for queuing so early was money and they would sell their spot in the queue for thousands of pounds. When we visited them only 30 minutes before the doors were due to open however, they were still there in their original spots and looking particularly cheery for guys that have pretty much slept rough for the past 5 days. As they were so happy to talk to us and pose for photos we offered them complementary Gadget Insurance policies so that they can protect their shiny new iPhones. After stating that he would only sell his place in the queue for £10,000 or more, Noah sat tight and went on to be one of the very first people in the UK to own a gold iPhone 5s.
Noah, Harry and Max weren’t the only people to queue for days however; further back in the queue some people had still been waiting for over 72 hours just to be among the first 50 to enter the Apple store at 8am on 20th September. When we had a chat with some and asked what they did if they needed to pop out of the queue for any reason (the main one being to use the nearby facilities) they told us in good spirits that it depended on the security worker on shift at the time. Some security workers had been more lenient than others who wouldn’t let them hold onto their place in the queue if they choose to leave during the night.
When we asked what motivated them to wait so long, the reaction from the queue was mixed. Some collect Apple products and just wanted to be seen as an ‘early adaptor’. In fact 38% of the 100 people surveyed by Protect your bubble said it was because they were huge Apple fans and 23% stated they just loved the atmosphere and wanted to be part of the launch.
For others however, it was all about the cash. 13% of said that their reason for queuing was for money and that they intended to sell the new iPhone straight away. 7% told us they were professional queuers and had either been paid to stand in line or would try and give up their place for money. Looking on ebay this morning it is evident that there is a demand for the new models even above market value, with the iPhone 5s going for up to £2,000 – almost 4 times its market value. Shortages of the iPhone 5s around the UK has caused the value of the first batch of new iPhones to rise and has given opportunity for those who queued early to sell their iPhones on for profit gain.
The remaining 18% said that they were queuing because they had missed out on pre-orders. This year only the iPhone 5c was available for pre-order while the more popular iPhone 5s was not. This was reportedly due to the limited supply of the iPhone 5s, but has no doubt left Apple fans disappointed and in this case out in the cold (queuing).
There were far more men in the queue than women and almost half were students but all seemed in good spirits despite waiting in the same place for so long. For some people it seemed to be all about the experience. They appear to view it as a hobby and enjoy waiting with family and friends to have the privilege of getting their hands on the new iPhone on launch day. It didn’t look like it could have been that much of a great experience however, judging by the state of the pavements that were littered with empty coffee cups and McDonald wrappers it has clearly been a long graft for the early starters.
One thing was sure though, it did appear to be completely worth it for many in London Regent Street as the doors opened at 8am. The crowd cheered for moments on end and the first 50 to enter the Apple store waved for the cameras as their wait was finally over. Everyone entered the Apple store not only with relief, but with a smile on their faces. The real highlight however, was as they exited the store over 20 minutes later. Noah among others proudly clutched his new iPhone 5s and posed for the cameras cheering in delight, proving once and for all that despite iPhone shortages there were many who weren’t in the least bit disappointed with Apple this year.