What counts as 'first' with iPhone 5 launches?

What counts as 'first' with iPhone 5 launches?

Summary: A company looking to promote itself paid a whole bunch of people to queue up for the iPhone 5; naturally, Apple didn't want them raining on its iPhone parade. So who is in the wrong?

TOPICS: iPhone, Apple, Networking

As reported earlier this morning, the "first" iPhone 5 customers in Sydney (and, at least, counted as among the first in the world) were a brother and sister duo, but they weren't the first in the queue.

(Credit: Spandas Lui/ZDNet)

We mentioned earlier this week, a company — which I am choosing not to name — paid a whole bunch of people to line up outside the Apple queue for the iPhone launch this morning. When ZDNet's Spandas Lui spoke to them, they spouted off a whole bunch of pre-scripted lines about the service of the company they worked for.

They weren't the only ones by any means. Sportsbet also tried to get in on the action, offering to mind the spots of people in the queue so that they could go to the toilet.

Given that the people in the line were there to promote something that wasn't Apple, it's no surprise that they weren't the ones that Apple ultimately trotted out to the media as being the first iPhone 5 owners.

Reportedly, the guy behind the company that paid those people to line up first is now having a bit of a whinge about how he didn't get the coverage he wanted.

What did he expect? Apple is notorious for controlling the message it wants. There was no way in hell that Apple was going to let what amounts to free advertising for someone else get in on its iPhone 5 coverage. Apple would want at least 30 percent of any resulting business from the company.

In the end, it's commercialisation of mass commercialisation. Apple loves the hype for its phones, and other companies are going to try to get their own slice of Apple's pie, so to speak. Aside from the initial 8 a.m. hype, the launch today seems distinctly more sedate than previous Apple outings, with one of the three major mobile operators not even doing a launch.

With this latest "scandal," and the ongoing criticism of Apple's new Maps, we might see the end of the Apple launch hype.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Networking


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • If they were first...

    Then they were first. Apple may not like it, but they were in the queue so deserved to have their five minutes of fame. Let's be honest though... it was a lunch for a phone FFS. Why the media was there in the first place baffles me. Why people would queue up for an over-hyped, over-priced, slightly upgraded version of what they already had is amazing to me. So simply put: 1) People shouldn't be this crazy about a bloody device and line up for it. 2) The media shouldn't make such a big song and dance over a couple of youngsters wanting to blow their cash on a new handset. 3) Without the previous two, the issue of advertising from other companies wouldn't exist.

    Get over yourselves people. I don't care who got the first one, who got 1,000th, or 1,000,000th. I don't care if Apple sells 66,000,000 of these in the first weekend. It's a PHONE! There are more important things to report on than this crazy first-world problem of getting a new handset first.
    • Agreed...

      Agree with you 1000%. Its just a phone, nothing more nothing less. I'm an Apple user, have a Mac, an iPad and an iPhone. When I'm eligible for a new phone (December) I'll be buying another iPhone but for darned sure I won't be waiting in any lines and I can wait a couple of months so I get the upgrade price and don't have to pay full song for the thing.

      It really makes me wonder about the values in our society when a phone, any phone, becomes so important that people wait in line, insult others about what phone they own or spend endless hours posting comments about how great their phone is. People need to get a life and focus on things that are really important.
    • Agreed!

      While I love my iPhone I sure as hell would not have waited in a line to get it. I didn't when I got the 3G, nor the 4, nor will I for the 5. I can wait until the die hard frothing at the mouth fanbois get theirs and Apple gets the bugs worked out with the Maps software.
      • Waited in line for the first iPhone but not since

        When the iPhone first came out, it was different enough to be a big deal. Now? It's just a minor evolution of the same phone each year, like any other brand. If I really want one near launch, I just preorder it online and spend those many hours I save by not waiting in line doing something a lot more fun.
        • It's Just a Show

          On day 2 of original launch, I went to Best Buy to pickup three free phones, with AT&T family plan. Wife took the red one, my father took the black one, and I got the blue one. Drove to Apple store, got my iPhone. Took SIM out of blue phone and put it in the iPhone. Every other phone (3GS, 4S) have all been preordered. I got each on the first day. It doesn't matter who's first, it is a personal device and should be kept personal.