World's biggest Apple store draws big iPhone crowd
Hundreds of fans including one who had camped out for 10 days whooped for joy as the new iPhone 4S went on sale Friday at the Apple store in London, the US firm's largest outlet on the planet.
Britain is known for its love for queues and staff handed out tickets and refreshments to a line of around 300 people that snaked around the block from the shop in the central Covent Garden theatre district.
"I'm a huge Apple fan," said Rob Shoesmith, 30, from Coventry in central England, who camped outside the store for 10 days to get his hands on one of the new phones.
He said he had surviving by trading Apple items in exchange for food and water and making appeals for supplies by Twitter.
"I used to work as a bin man, then I submitted an app that achieved success in 2009. Without Apple as a company I would still be emptying dustbins," he told AFP.
Duncan Hoare, 42, a forex trader from London, who had been waiting since Tuesday, mourned the passing of Jobs, who died from cancer last week aged 56.
"It (Jobs' death) did actually make me want the iPhone more," Hoare said.
"I was devastated, I didn't actually believe it. My mother told me. He was Apple, the creativity he gave to Apple products is what made them."
There were harsh words in London for smartphone rival BlackBerry, which has suffered an embarrassing technical glitch in recent days that has left millions of angry users without email.
Kat Golub, 22, who works for a record label, said she was queueing so she could switch from BlackBerry to the iPhone.
"I've been wanting to change for a few weeks. The screen is bigger, with the touchpad on BlackBerry I can't do anything for 30 seconds -- it freezes! And I've had the problems with it this week," she said.
Alon Shalev, 22, a student from Saint Petersburg in Russia who had been waiting line at the Apple store for two days, said: "BlackBerrys don't work, they are slow."
Of Jobs, he said: "I wanted the iPhone anyway but it is a big tragedy that he died, I was very sad to hear the news. But he made this company so he is a hero of our time, of the 21st century."
© 2011 AFP