Macworld UK: iPhone queues form across Europe

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld UK’s news and blog pages.

Hundreds of anxious iPhone acolytes braved freezing temperatures across Germany last night, while in the U.K., queues have formed at Apple retail outlets and bloggers have been reporting from the iPhone line.

Reuters reports hundreds braved the rain early this morning to be first in line for an iPhone, when it went on sale in Germany. People were also queuing outside Cologne’s Deutsche Telecom shop, where the device went on sale at midnight.

Parent company T-Mobile has already warned German consumers that the devices may be in short supply. “We’re not giving out precise forecasts, but registrations on our website lead me to believe (the Christmas season) will be a strong sales period,” said Rene Bresgen, spokesman for Deutsche Telecom. “The real question for me is whether we have enough devices and can meet customer demand.”

Perhaps preparing for this. Apple’s Regent Street store has reportedly received a huge shipment of iPhones for anticipated demand today.

The now 50-strong queue outside the English flagship store began assembling early Thursday, which must have pleased Apple’s senior vice-president of retail, Ron Johnson, reportedly in London for the launch event, along with iTunes chief Greg Joswiak, and Apple’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller.

First in the London queue, Graham Gilbert is a freelance web developer who has travelled down from Manchester to get hold of an iPhone.

“We got here around midday yesterday,” explained Gilbert. ”It was just me and Nik to start off with, some people showed up in the afternoon and by the evening there were seven of us here. We slept here, well, I say slept, we were just sitting out here in the freezing cold. I’m just running on caffeine, Apple gave me a mug you can’t find anywhere,” he added, proudly holding up his Apple-branded (and donated) mug.

The student explained Apple had also given them hoodies and an umbrella, as well as the coveted Apple-branded mug. They were sheltered inside the store last night, when torrential rain hit London.

Far from being a bad deal, Gilbert thinks iPhone is a better deal than the existing one he has, which costs him around £50 once his web usage is taken into account. “Store staff have been taking UK iPhones around the crowd,” he explained, “I think it’s a brilliant device.”

Apple employees have been handing out coffee to chilly people in the queue this morning, as reported in Tomek Jasinski’s blog. Architecture student Jasinski has been in the London queue since 4 p.m. Thursday, equipped with a small suitcase full of snacks, a sleeping bag and the traditional protection carried by any U.K. outdoor camper, bin bags to keep him dry. He’s blogging directly from the queue here.

Queues have also begun forming at Apple’s flagship Scottish store in Glasgow. Following a wind-swept night, pragmatic Scottish iPhone fans began queueing at 7:02 a.m., when Steve Johnson parked himself at the head of the line. Barriers were later set-up in the street and the queue now numbers eight people, according to Johnson’s blog on his iPhone fansite.

It’s not just good news for Apple, but also for its exclusive U.K. network supplier, O2, which has apparently ordered hundreds of thousands of iPhones to meet anticipated demand.

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