London queues for first iPhone 3G S sales

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld U.K.’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.

iPhone fans were up bright an early Friday morning, joining a queues outside O2 shops and the Apple Stores around the capital in search of a new iPhone 3G S.

The iPhone 3G S is not a free upgrade to existing users, so queues as large as the ones last July are not expected. Also the contract is slightly more expensive than last year’s.

We spoke to one new iPhone owner outside the London Bridge O2 store who had upgraded his original iPhone. He explained: “My current iPhone is now out of contract so this upgrade was a no brainier. Knowing that iPhone 3G owners have to pay a small fortune to upgrade if they want a iPhone 3G S makes me very happy that I didn’t update my phone last July.”

Earlier, only a few people turned up to buy an iPhone 3G S from Apple’s flagship store on London Regents Street Friday morning.

A security guard told iPod User’s Andy Penfold: “A handful of people were queuing outside at about 5.30 a.m. They were served quite quickly at 8 a.m. There has been no queuing since.”

The security guard predicted that their may be a rush at lunch time as office workers make their way to the store to purchase the new iPhone 3G S, and indeed Apple Store staff were much busier fielding iPhone questions by 11:30.

At the O2 store on London’s Oxford Street, demand was more steady—at one point there was a 45-minute wait, and the only customers allowed into the store were those who buying a new iPhone. Most people appear to be new to the iPhone, as opposed to paying for an upgrade.

Charlie Bennett, a digital matte painter, joined the queue at around 11:15. “I haven’t had an iPhone before—I’ve waited for a better model with all the bugs fixed. And the price is now more within my reach and I can justify it to my missus.”

Another punter in the queue, Ben Butterfield, who works in recruitment, had also held off from buying an iPhone until now. “I didn’t get the first one because it had no 3G. Then when the next one came out I was in a contract, but that has expired at about the same time that the 3G S was released, so I’m going go get the latest one.”

Crowds queue up outside a London O2 store for the latest iPhone.
He says he’s been using an LG Viewty in the interim: “I’ve got most of the features in the phone I have now, but it just does them a lot worse.”

However, there are people buying out of their contracts to get the latest iPhone 3G S. Dean Duncan, broadband specialist at Carphone Warehouse Oxford Street, said: “One guy paid £180 to pay off his current iPhone contract”.

Marwa Hassan, a technology consultant and another member of the queue at the O2 store Oxford Street, was also upgrading the iPhone 3G. “I’m doing it as a new contract so I think it works out at £173,” she said, adding that she only baulks at the price when comparing it to U.S. prices. “I need it… well I don’t need it but I want it,” she said. “I didn’t get the first one because I needed 3G.”

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