After the rollercoaster that has been the iPhone 4 launch, the handset has finally gone on sale in Australia with midnight launches across the country. We spent the night walking up and down George Street watching the growing crowds, the celebrity appearances and the luxurious parties. Here are some thoughts...
Based purely on crowd numbers, Optus has again managed to gain the majority of new iPhone customers with this generation. Their queue in the minutes before midnight was at least 700 people long and took almost 3.5 minutes to walk from start to finish. Vodafone/3 was second - it was hard to judge the length of their queue because they were moving people to and from their party at the swanky Ivy, but just after midnight it was still longer than the Telstra queue. Speaking of the Big T, the length of their line didn't seem to vary much between 10pm and midnight, which is surprising given their change in plans. Perhaps they were telling customers they didn't have enough stock?
It was very much a party atmosphere. Optus took the first 50 people in their Sydney queue to an exclusive Kelly Rowland concert (who must have been paid an absolute fortune from Optus for her efforts), while Telstra was going all out with Masterchef celebrities cooking for potential customers over the evening. VHA went a slightly different route with their Ivy party, but they did have a band and there were definitely some lesser-than-A-grade celebrities in the room.
From reports on Twitter, some stores have already sold out an hour after going on sale. The question is when the carriers will get stock replaced - judging on previous years, it will be a trickle for a few weeks at least.
But for the time being, there are hundreds - if not thousands - of happy new iPhone 4 owners who spent up to 18 hours sitting in a line to get it. We salute their commitment.