What counts as 'first' with iPhone 5 launches?

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?
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

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.

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