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3G iPhone - the long wait is over. Or is it?

Walking past my local O2 store on the Holloway Road at 7:45 this morning, I clocked around fifty north Londoners queuing outside. They were in good spirits: the sun was shining, the O2 staff were distributing goody bags (containing no iPhones, to much palpable disappointment, but a small selection of fruit, crisps and other snacks), and the fanboi cameraderie was in full effect.
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Written by Rupert Goodwins on

Walking past my local O2 store on the Holloway Road at 7:45 this morning, I clocked around fifty north Londoners queuing outside. They were in good spirits: the sun was shining, the O2 staff were distributing goody bags (containing no iPhones, to much palpable disappointment, but a small selection of fruit, crisps and other snacks), and the fanboi cameraderie was in full effect.

For about a minute, I wondered whether to join in - having a vague feeling of desire for the device itself, and tempted by the idea of concocting an eyewitness account of the whole affair. Sanity soon kicked in - as it normally does when Apple's involved, once you've had the psyops training - and I left them to it.

And then I did some sums. Given that you have to activate your iPhone in-store, a process that can take twenty minutes if previous experience is a guide, and given that there were three shop assistants, a queue of fifty people would take around five hours to clear. That's before you factor in stuff like O2's systems going down if two people glance at it at the same time...

Even as I type, reports are coming in that people are bailing out of the queues because delays are huge. Others say that registration just isn't working. One rumour says that O2's registration system only works with Internet Explorer, and Apple Stores only have Macs. Another says that the credit check system has fallen over. Still another says that stores have a tiny allocation of phones - as in three - but haven't been telling the queuers.

Here's a helpful hint: for some reason, nobody's queuing outside the Carphone Warehouse shop ten doors up from the O2 store on the Holloway Road. At the 2G launch, this trick could net you a iPhone in minutes, at the height of the fever...

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