iPhone 5 launch: More than 1,000 people needlessly block London's Regent Street

iPhone 5 launch: More than 1,000 people needlessly block London's Regent Street

Summary: Another iLaunch, another queue. For my sins, I was sent down there to check out what all the fuss was about and why exactly people had been waiting there for more than a week. Ultimately, I'm not sure I got an answer.

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  • Perplexingly, a whole bunch of these people seemed to be doing it for the 'experience', as the Three store (and Orange, two doors down) had around four people waiting for the iPhone 5 to go on sale.

    At the Three store, buyers got to sit down and wait in comfort inside. One of the sales reps told me they had stock to sell to people who hadn't reserved the phone, but that they expected to sell out on Friday.

    Perhaps it was the incredibly long walk (472 feet) from the Apple Store to either of these other retailers that put those in the Regent Street queue off.

  • Naturally, if you spend a few days sitting around, you might get a little bored — see how these iPhone 5 launch day queuers passed the time with a pack of cards.

    Overall, my experience of the queue from the outside — I confess, without the excitement of getting a new iPhone 5 — seemed a little like self-imposed kettling that demanded a £529 (minimum) release fee. Clamping, but without the car.

    All images by Ben Woods

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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122 comments
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  • For Your Sins?

    I thought it would have been for your job.

    Because it is the way my mind works ("There's a lyric for that!") and not a presumption or projection on you, sins and jobs reminded me of a couple of lines from Bob Dylan's Desolation Row. "Her profession's her religion, her sin is her lifelessness." The phrase itself is hardly apt, but the song in totality may illustrate these type of events. And it would be easy to imagine Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot now arguing Android and iOS. The calypso singers would still be laughing, but some of that is relief because they thought that the 60s and reggae obliterated them.
    DannyO_0x98
    • With all honesty the greatest reply for some time.

      Well done my friend.

      Ah to imagine a debate as trivial as the operating system of your handset, or the manufacturer of the device itself to be conducted with half the wit of such figures. To imagine a satirical publication of such an event by a writer such as Evelyn Waugh. An opportunity missed indeed.

      Were we treated to a witty and satirical masterpiece, that reflects our time and society through the scope of events surrounding the most hyped technology release of the year? An event attended by over a thousand people from all over the world?

      Surely this young reporter of technological news and reviews will seize the opportunity of such a media covered event to advance his career through thorough reporting, to engage with the public that read the work of his contempories?

      "It seemed like a self imposed kettling"

      Fear not, there's always the Windows 8 and asociated tablet releases next month Ben. Now you may find you're utter disdain for your profession proves to be a sin great enough to warrent a punishment as severe as coverage of such an event.

      Should you find yourself in such dire straights, might I suggest attacking the punitive measure head on with a pincer formation; The left flank with an enthusiasm for your task, The right with balanced reporting, And a final central push combining the power of your wit with the sum of your littery technique.

      It is through such a strategy that you may not only break the relentless cycle of sin and punishment, but also ascend to the great plains inhabited by such littery figures.

      The mark of a great reporter lies in his ability to assess equally the failings in his own assumptions, as well as in those that oppose him.
      MarknWill
    • Great Post!

      Absolutely great post. Thanks!
      Eleutherios
    • Because he's British

      And they say things like that.
      fairportfan
  • Too funny

    " All of them were considerably more excited about the event than anyone I saw waiting to go in."

    My favorite line from this article.
    toddbottom3
    • Yes very funny

      Its like any event. Call it an event and some idiots will come. Its like a saying I heard a while back. Man ask a boy what he was standing in a long line for? Boy answered I don't know I just figured it was something good? Turns out it was a military recruitment line after 9-11.
      jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • For all that you disparage the cheering

        There were still how many people in that line? Twelve hundred?

        Note also that it was primarily an APPLE event, not just an iPhone5 one--no crowd at all only a few hundred feet away.
        DWFields
    • I agree - that was clever...

      ... but the image it evokes is slightly sad. When the people selling are still trying to generate a sense of excitement about their product at this late stage... :-/ ... and clearly failing.
      Makes me glad I'm not in sales.

      I did find it interesting that the Event drew more interest than what the Event was about. PT Barnum would have enjoyed this.
      Robynsveil
  • Oh, I've got a word that can solve this entire mystery.

    "BAAAAAAAAAAA"

    We're all hysterically excited that now iSheep get to shell out $30 per adapter to adapt their pile-up of 5 year electronics that were "iPhone" compatible.

    "Hysterical" being the key word in that sentence.
    thoiness
    • Not a word. Just saying.....

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • It is to sheep. Just saying

        ;)
        William Farrel
        • Don't think it is. It's a sound even to them.

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
          • You talk to sheep?

            Maybe it should be James Doolittle?
            thoiness
          • No I don't talk sheep. Cause they don't

            talk;). They may communicate with sounds they make, but they don't talk. Period end of story.

            Pagan jim
            James Quinn
    • 'fraid you're wrong there. Sheep have to be led--like by a Judas Goat

      These people weren't led there, they arrived of their own accord. If you want to call them "Cash Cows" you would be more accurate. Meanwhile, the sheep all flock to Android--because they have to be led there by the nose and by their wallets.
      DWFields
      • fraid you're wrong there. Really? iSheep have to be led- like you!

        So if the new (and improved ..lol) iPhone5 was not being released on that date, they would not have gone and lined up like isheep? REALLY?
        Android users buy Android phones because they like the freedom the OS gives them, not the same old .. same old you get buying an iPhone!
        If you haven't figured out that yet, then you have been grazing in the pasture too long!
        Dude, Get out of the pasture!!
        CND-Dude
        • fraid you are grossly misinformed

          So the iPhone 5 was not improved over the 4S at all? Has your head actually been in the sand or something?

          I'm confused, you think all those people would have lined up there if the iPhone 5 wasn't being released that day? Did they line up there a week before or a couple of days later?

          Oh man, that was funny!!! You think that most people buy Android because they like the freedom the OS gives them. I'm still laughing, makes typing a bit hard. There are definitely people that do choose Android due to the freedom but in the overall market that percentage isminusculescue it isn't even worth mentioning. Percentage here, of course that's going to be higher due to the nature of the site. A majority of Android sales are going to people that are not tsavvysavy at all. They want a smart phone and the Android phone they picked was available on their carrier and fit their budget. Absolutely nothing wrong with that but it's far more accurate than stating the bought due to freedom. There certainlyinly iPhone owners that are sheep but unlike what you would like everyone to believe, that is also sucminusculecule percentage it's not worth mentioning. The majority buy the iPhone because they prefer it over the alternatives. Maybe they didn't give the alternatives enough of a try but they apparently didn't offer anything for them to give a longer look and went with the iPhone.
          non-biased
    • Funny apes

      Kind of funny to find all the fanatics aping each.
      AdanC
  • And

    Cam Newton: "He is pictured here having bought two iPhones he didn't really want."
    Little Old Man
    • two iPhones he didn't really want

      To be sold if he is not as stupid as he looked 5 mins later at a huge profit!
      I will stick to samsung thank you... (can I say that here? Shock horror)
      ronangel