Video Fanbois have once again queued to obtain the new iPhone in Australia, where an accident of time zones means punters willing to do without sleep can be among the very first in the world to play with Apple's latest.
The Reg dropped in to Apple Store Broadway, a Cupertinian outpost in a small mall on the fringe of Sydney's central business district. At 7:30am we found around 250 people in the queue. Just three of those wished to buy an iPhone tied to a carrier. The rest were ready to plonk down hundreds of dollars for an unlocked handset.
The queues were rather shorter than last year and rather easier to enter. Folks at around 200-deep in the unlocked handset queue arrived around 7:30am. Last year's queue also featured many more hoping to buy the phone on a carrier's contract.
Why were any of them there? Most just wanted a new phone, fast. At the head of the queue was 38 year-old registered nurse David, who arrived at 8:45pm for his fifth Apple all-nighter. He just likes getting new phones early, has already sold his iPhone 5 for only a couple of hundred dollars below the 5s' price, and so doesn't feel out of pocket.
One chap we met in the queue, 28-year-old software engineer Ajeya, brandished a Nexus he intended to replace with an iPhone 5s. He'd moved from an iPhone to Android, found an HTC One unsatisfactory, moved to a Nexus and decided to come back to Apple.
We moved down the queue asking what model the queuing fanbois wanted and did not hear any interest in the 5c until the 60th person in the queue. All the folks ahead in the queue declared the 5c to be plasticky or somehow not the real deal. The word "crap" was aired more than once.
A request for a show of hands for iPhone 5c buyers from the 200-odd other folks in the queue yielded only a few raised hands.
Those at the front of the queue were "lucky" enough to see the Apple Store staff whip themselves into a pre-launch frenzy. Half an hour before launch, staff repeatedly formed a circle and chanted something. A few minutes before launch they ran out into the mall, whooping ecstatically as they tore past the queue in a two-abreast formation.
Next, a staffer assembled the staff into a gauntlet and exhorted them to chant something that aounded like a corporate mantra explaining how Apple goes about its business. The video below shows the kool aid being served and imbibed.
Once the doors opened and a trickle of fanbois was admitted, the whooping stopped. We observed a lot of grim-faced buyers counting out thick wads of cash, often for multiple handsets. No one would admit they were destined for eBay. And hardly anyone looked to be buying the iPhone 5c. The table on which the latter were displayed quickly became a place of business for busy Apple workers, while the two 5s tables attracted a few experimenters giving the phone an early fondle.
Most of those in the queue didn't bother: they knew what they wanted. A new iPhone. Nothing else mattered. ®