Apple stores around the world began selling iPhone 4S today as fans queued up for the new handset – some overnight. Rob Shoesmith, a former binman from Coventry, queued for ten days to become the first man with an iPhone 4S at Apple’s Covent Garden store this morning.
He was among a thousand people who mobbed the flagship London Apple store. A delighted Shoesmith, 30, declared: ‘I am excited about using the new phone – once I have had some sleep.’
It is the start of a weekend where Apple is expected to sell three million handsets worldwide. It is the first new iPhone for 15 months and comes just two weeks after co-founder Steve Jobs died.
Review round-up below
Early adopters: Rob Shoesmith, left, 30, from Coventry, is the first man through the door at the Apple store Covent Garden, London, for release of the iPhone 4S, while Duncan Hoare, right, was the first to leave
Crowds outside the Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden this morning. Analysts predict that up to three million handsets could sell this weekend
Leap year: A happy customer jumps into the arms of an Apple employee outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden after buying an iPhone 4S
Shoesmith, who had queued outside the store for almost two weeks, updating a Twitter feed about the wait, said: ‘I am absolutely exhausted, it has been a lot harder than I thought. I haven’t slept properly the whole time.’
Apple’s new smartphone has already broken the pre-order record set by iPhone 4.
And queues have been snaking around Apple stores all over the world.
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Tokyo and Australia got the phone first, due to time differences. In Tokyo hundreds jostled to gain entry, with fans glued to iPhones, iPads and Macbook laptops as they waited for stores to open.
One million phones were pre-ordered in the first 24 hours after launch, almost doubling the previous one-day record of 600,000 for the iPhone 4.
Analysts say Apple could sell three million phones this weekend, and up to 100 million next year.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was a surprise face among the people queuing outside his local Apple store in Los Gatos, California.
Wozniak, who co-founded the company with Steve Jobs, was first in the queue outside the store.
Wozniak no longer works for the company. Famously, he sold his Hewlett Packard calculator for $500 in 1976 to fund Apple’s launch.
He told American TV station NBC 11 that even though he has two of the new handsets on the way, he planned on staying overnight outside the store with other Apple devotees.
GREAT NEWS FOR APPLE! ONE IN FIVE BLACKBERRY USERS CONSIDERS SWITCHING PHONES AFTER THREE-DAY BLACKOUT
One in five BlackBerry phone users is considering switching to another supplier because of the service problems which hit millions of people this week, according to a study today.
A survey of more than 1,000 BlackBerry customers by shopping comparison website Kelkoo found that 19 per cent are thinking about moving to another manufacturer, 42 per cent will consider changing later and eight per cent said they have bought a new mobile phone already.
Kelkoo said that with today’s launch of the iPhone 4S already boasting pre-orders of over one million, this week’s service issues could not have come at a worse time for BlackBerry, giving users a ‘tempting ship to jump to’.
Research among another 3,000 people found that seven out of 10 who were planning to get a BlackBerry in the future admitted they would need some reassurance from the manufacturer as they would be put off by the recent problems.
Four out of five consumers said they were put off choosing a handset from a manufacturer that has experienced major service problems.
Chris Simpson, chief marketing officer at Kelkoo, said: ‘This week has been incredibly difficult for BlackBerry users worldwide. However, BlackBerry offers a market-leading product with a unique service, which nearly a third of consumers admit they will not find with any other manufacturer.
‘As such, it has a loyal following and this will stand it in good stead to retain customers. Whilst our research highlights that some consumers intend to jump the BlackBerry ship, it could be a very different picture in the coming months when this week’s issues become a distant memory.’
Review round-up: What the experts said
The world’s tech experts have sat in judgement on the new handset- and while new features such as voice activation have been met with a mixed reception, and the battery still barely lasts a day, overall the phone gets a cautious thumbs up.
‘The iPhone 4S is
one of Apple’s less dramatic updates’
Stuff.tv protested over the fact that Apple’s tiny tweaks to button placing could cause some users to have to buy new cases, ‘If you’re planning on bagging yourself the iPhone 4S this Friday, put aside a bit of spare change for a replacement case,’ it said.
But overall, reaction was good. TechCrunch said: ‘I’m happy that Apple decided not to change the form factor even though they had to know there would be some backlash from a certain segment of the population (read: idiots)’.
The Wall Street Journal said: ‘The iPhone 4S is one of Apple’s less dramatic updates’.
‘The battery life appears to be about the same as iPhone 4 – Apple says it’s better: it looks even’
The battery, never Apple’s strong suit, was still a slight disappointment to many. ‘While the battery still gets you through one full day, standby time is shorter than before (200 hours versus 300),’ griped the New York Times.
This Is My Next was more easily impressed: ‘Even after a heavy day of use (about 16 hours of making calls, browsing, downloading apps, syncing, listening to music, game playing, and more), I still had juice on the phone when I plugged it in before bed.’
CNET said: ‘The battery life of the 4S appears to be about the same as the iPhone 4′s – Apple is saying it’s slightly better, but it looks pretty even.’
‘It’s like having the intern of my dreams at my beck and call, organising my life’
The meat of many reviews – as well as the main topic of Apple’s own iPhone 4S presentation – was how the Siri voice-control software performed. Most reviewers were impressed.
USA Today said: ‘The real power comes in the many ways you can converse with Siri and be understood. Asking ‘Will it rain tomorrow?’ yields the same weather results as ‘What is the forecast for the week ahead?’
Daring Fireball said, ‘You’re not driving or commanding the existing iPhone interface with commands. There is no syntax to memorize. You’re just, well, talking to your iPhone.’
Wired said, ‘It’s kind of like having the intern of my dreams at my beck and call, organizing my life for me. I think Siri on the iPhone is a life changer, and this is only the beginning.’
‘The camera’s a major overhaul – but it can’t compete with traditional cameras in low light’
Reviewers were impressed by Apple’s new eight-megapixel camera, though some noted it merely brought Apple in line with competition such as Samsung’s Galaxy S II.
Macworld said the camera was ‘Great’
The New York Times was impressed, but groused, ‘Every now and then the 4S’s camera app gets stuck on its startup screen.’
T3 said, ‘The camera’s had a major overhaul, now capable of taking eight-megapixel stills and recording 1080p video. Photos are crisper, no question, but it can’t compete with traditional cameras with bigger lenses in low light.’
‘Some may be content to skip the new hardware and enjoy the software with older models’
Most reviewers felt that the new upgraded chip gave iOS 5 a satisfying boost – but some questioned whether it was enough to let Apple compete.
Wired said, ‘There will undoubtedly be smartphones with faster processors,’ while T3 said, ‘The new A5 dual-core processor (as seen in the iPad 2) makes things noticeably nippier.
Apps launch quicker, web pages load faster, multi-tasking is more fluid and resource-hungry apps like Pages now allow you to edit documents without any lag.’
THE VERDICT: SHOULD YOU BUY, OR JUST DOWNLOAD iOS 5 AND WAIT?
Macworld said, ‘The iPhone 4S has speed, a great camera, some cool voice-recognition features, and the same beautiful industrial design that was introduced in the iPhone 4. In the end, the iPhone 4S follows Apple’s recent trajectory of iPhone releases: It’s an object of some appeal to people who last upgraded their phones a year ago, and over the next year a great many of them will find it worthwhile to upgrade to the iPhone 4S.’
The Wall Street Journal said, ‘Some may be content to skip the new hardware and just enjoy the software and cloud features with older models. But those buying the phone will likely be happy.’
T3 said, ‘It may not be what people were hoping for – whatever that looked like – but the iPhone 4S is now the best phone from the Apple stable. A powerful mobile device with a great OS and some cutting-edge tech to boot.’
Stephen Fry said in The Guardian, ‘Once again Apple is taking a lead and asking a lot of its competitors. I wish those competitors luck, for the better all smartphones are, the happier I am. If Steve Jobs’s true legacy is that the devices every other company makes are so, so much better than they otherwise would have been, I don’t think he would mind one bit.’
Techcrunch said, ‘Apple focused on the other thing they do best: refining already great products to make them better. The iPhone 4 was a great product. The best smartphone ever made. Now it cedes that title to the iPhone 4S.’
Wired said, ‘There will undoubtedly be smartphones with faster processors, or more megapixels to their cameras, or high-speed 4G connectivity, or bigger, better resolution displays, but it’s difficult to imagine any of them competing with the joined-up ecosystem Apple now offers.’
Bloomberg said, ‘With the iPhone’s continuing advantage in number of apps (500,000 and counting), its arrival on the Sprint network and its ability to function as a world phone, the 4S doesn’t leave many holes for the competition to plug.
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