Apple's iPhone 5 sales surge circles the globe (+video)
iPhone 5 buyers lined up outside of stores from Hong Kong to London to New York. The iPhone 5 goes on sale in 9 countries Friday, and 22 more next week.
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In downtown Sydney, Todd Foot, 24, showed up three days early to nab the coveted first spot. He spent about 18 hours a day in a folding chair, catching a few hours' sleep each night in a tent on the sidewalk.Skip to next paragraph
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Foot's dedication was largely a marketing stunt, however. He writes product reviews for a technology website that will give away the phone after Foot reviews it.
"I just want to get the phone so I can feel it, compare it and put it on our website," he said while slumped in his chair.
In Paris, the phone launch was accompanied by a workers' protest — a couple dozen former and current Apple employees demonstrated peacefully to demand better work benefits. Some decried what they called Apple's transformation from an offbeat company into a multinational powerhouse.
But the protesters — urged by a small labor union to demonstrate at Apple stores around France — were far outnumbered by lines of would-be buyers on the sidewalk outside the store near the city's gilded opera house.
Not everyone lining up at the various Apple stores was an enthusiast, though. In Hong Kong, university student Kevin Wong, waiting to buy a black 16 gigabyte model for 5,588 Hong Kong dollars ($720), said he was getting one "for the cash." He planned to immediately resell it to one of the numerous grey market retailers catering to mainland Chinese buyers. China is one of Apple's fastest growing markets but a release date for the iPhone 5 there has not yet been set.
Wong was required to give his local identity card number when he signed up for his iPhone on Apple's website. The requirement prevents purchases by tourists including mainland Chinese, who have a reputation for scooping up high-end goods on trips to Hong Kong because there's no sales tax and because of the strength of China's currency. Even so, the mainlanders will probably buy it from the resellers "at a higher price — a way higher price," said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1,000 ($129).
Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he's an Apple fan because it's an innovator.
"I love Apple," he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.
"It's only the iPhone for me."
Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Faris Mokhtar in Singapore, Tom Rayner in London and Oleg Cetinic in Paris contributed to this report.
Follow Kelvin Chan on at twitter.com/chanman
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.