The iPhone 5 went on sale in Australia today, and hundreds of folks lined up for the privilege of being some of the first in the country to purchase and own Apple’s latest cultural and technical marvel. Some waited as long as 68 hours for the iPhone 5, competing to be the first person in the world to own an iPhone 5.
If you’re planning on waiting in line for an iPhone 5 tomorrow, be warned: judging by the numbers of people already waiting outside some of the big Apple Stores, the iPhone 5 launch is looking like it’s going to be an absolute zoo. There have never been this many people in line this far ahead of an official Apple product launch, ever. And Apple themselves anticipate long lines outside of their stores “all day long, into the evening.”
iOS devices are big business in China, and not just for Apple. Gangs of scalpers queue up to get their hands on the latest devices on launch day so that they can later be sold on through the grey market for a sizable profit.
Back in October, when the iPhone 4S launched in Hong Kong, police were called to break up the riots that occurred outside of Apple retail stores as scalpers attempted to force their way into the lines ahead of genuine customers. To ensure it doesn’t happen again, Apple has warned scalpers not to queue up for its new iPad on Friday.
The iPhone 4S is set to finally launch in China tomorrow, but that hasn’t stopped the locals from lining up early to secure access to the coveted handset. The line for Apple’s flagship store in Beijing has gotten so out of control that Apple may have to cancel the launch there altogether.
Reports are coming in that Beijing SWAT teams have already been called in to handle thousands of angry scalpers and potential customers. There have reportedly been fights in the streets between gangs of professional scalpers that buy Apple devices in bulk to then resell at a higher price.