iPhone 5 Launch In London: Gallery
TechWeekEurope reports from the queues in front of Apple’s flagship store
After the slightly underwhelming iPad launch in spring, many thought that the Apple queuing phenomenon was over. However, last night hundreds of people decided that the iPhone 5 was worth waiting for, and took to the streets.
According to one Apple employee who has been with the company since the launch of the first iPhone, the queue for the flagship store on Regent Street was the longest he has ever seen.
The iPhone festival
The queue was huge. Even at 9:30 AM, it was predicted that those waiting just around the corner from the store on Hanover Street would have to wait another five hours. Some of them had been queuing since midnight.
This time round, Apple decided to take over Hanover Square, with the queue circling it before coming out on Brook Street. The neighbourhood was full of tired-looking Apple staff dressed in blue, ushering people into metal enclosures and giving out gift cards – Apple’s “golden tickets”. The trade in tickets was rife, but getting caught might get you removed from the queue altogether.
Most of the people queuing in the square had spent the night there. Despite waiting for hours, the crowds were excited, and the whole event was reminiscent of a music festival, complete with cold coffee and portaloos.
The iPhone 5 has a bigger screen than its predecessor, added 4G LTE support and a brand new eight pin connector dubbed “Lightning”. Inside the smartphone, users will find a new Apple A6 chip that makes it twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, combined with twice as much RAM.
The new eight megapixel camera can capture 1080p high-definition video and take photos at the same time, while the upgraded 720p front facing camera will improve FaceTime conversations.
The new smartphone doesn’t have NFC support, and it has lost its native YouTube and Google Maps applications. Instead, Apple engineers have come up with their own navigation software, which so far has failed to impress.
An unlocked 16 GB version of the iPhone 5 costs £529.00 and the wait time for delivery is currently around four weeks. A 32 GB model will set you back £599.00, while the 64 GB model carries a hefty price tag of £699.00.
If you look for less expensive alternatives, consider Goophone i5. Its Chinese manufacturer has actually threatened to sue Apple, saying that it has already patented this design. Oh, and it runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
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