Given that the iPhone launch currently underway is the seventh, some analysts and pundits were predicting that consumers would be suffering from buyers fatigue and that interest in the handset would be tepid. Queues at iPhone stores across the UK this morning suggest otherwise.
This morning I paid a visit to an Apple store located at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. This is an average sized store for the UK and is one of two located within the city.
Here's the scene at the entrance to the store at 8AM. Contract customers were ushered to the head of the line and were some of the first in the world to get their hands on the new iPhone 5s and 5c. But this is only a small part of a much bigger queue that stretched all the way out of the mall and into the car park.
According to staff at the Trafford Center, there were around 2,000 people in the queue, a figure confirmed to me later by police officers that were on duty at the site. The officers reported that the queues had started to form at 10PM the night before, and that despite the crowds everyone had been well behaved and patient.
In order to prevent people queuing up needlessly, and I suppose to prevent disappointment and the emotions that come out as a result, Apple had put in place a ticket system which meant that everyone in the crowd was guaranteed a handset. I spoke to a few people, and it seemed that very few had managed to secure an iPhone 5s, and no one I spoke to had managed to secure a gold iPhone 5s.
Information I received in confidence from an Apple employee working at another store suggests that few, in any, gold iPhone 5s handsets had been shipped to UK stores, and that supplies of the white handsets were also severely limited. This leave the space grey as being the most widely available at present, adn even supplies of that are tight, with web orders now shipping in seven to ten days.
Staff at another cellphone retailer – Carphone Warehouse – situated yards away from the Apple Store told me they "had been lucky enough" to have taken delivery of fifty iPhone 5c and 5s handsets in total, and expected them all to be gone before lunchtime. Staff also conformed that the iPhone 5s was in short supply, so much so that the store didn't have one to use as a demo unit.
The Apple Store I visited is one of 37 stores in the UK, and both sources on the ground and social media conforms that similar queues have been present at all of them this morning.
Apple is going to sell a lot of handsets today.
iPhone fatigue? What iPhone fatigue?