Update, 11am: Die-hard Apple fans have started queuing outside the Perth Apple store ahead of the release of the iPhone 5 at 8am tomorrow.
Stephen Quayle, who works in electronics, was first to queue up at about 3am this morning, with the goal of beating fellow Apple geek Trent Lloyd, who was number one in the queue for the new iPad earlier this year.
Mr Quayle said he planned his holidays around the launch.
“We had to do a bit of planning for it, it was one of those things I wanted to tick off the old bucket list,” he said.
“I had to do a bit of research into who had been here last year and who was likely to be here this year and what time was going to be appropriate to get here and we decided on 3am.
“It’s pretty exciting, we have comfortable seats and we are just enjoying watching the traffic go by.”
Mr Lloyd said he had arrived earlier than last time, at 7.30am, to discover he had already missed out on the number one spot and was only able to secure fourth position in the queue.
“Next year is going to be a whole level up, we might have to do a whole extra day or something,” he said. “Their whole goal was that they knew they had to beat me.”
West Australians are expected to flood electronics stores, including the Perth and Garden City Apple stores, tomorrow to get the iPhone 5.
Apple’s share price surpassed $US700 on Monday night after it announced record first-day pre-orders, with two million units sold.
JB Hi-Fi chief executive Terry Smart said he expected to have more customers than stock for the iPhone 5 release, with JB Hi-Fi stores opening early at 8am to cater to demand.
“What you will find with most Apple launches is that the demand will far exceed the supply,” he said. “You won’t see a lot of stock in the country, and therefore sales, albeit very strong, will be limited initially due to the supply of the stock.”
Mr Smart said big product launches provided a boost for electronics retailers.
“The industry is built up around these new releases, Australians love this new technology, so these new releases, be it the iPhone 5 or even when the Galaxy S3 came out, or when Windows 8 comes out, Australians love this new technology so it’s great for the sector,” he said.
“We continue to grow in this space and see very strong sales, however these launches are just what we need to keep the momentum going.”
Despite the iPhone 5 frenzy, many smartphone users are also choosing to look elsewhere for a superfast 4G-connected smartphone.
Critics disappointed at the lack of a near-field-communication chip, which allows the phone to be used like a credit card, argue the iPhone 5’s main competitor, the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy S3, is starting to look more attractive.
Local technology commentator and PC Guru boss Jason Jordan said people who already owned an iPhone 4 or 4S should update to the latest software, which would give them many of the best features of the iPhone 5.
He said they should hold out on buying a new handset until the next release or consider switching to Android-based phones, such as the Galaxy S3.
“The problem I have got now with Apple is what they are starting to bring out is evolutionary, not revolutionary and in some respects that is a good thing, but in other respects it means they are falling behind the game,” he said.
Mr Smart said Android phones were increasingly popular.
“The whole smartphone market continues to grow every month and with the products on the market at the moment, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, there is a lot of interest out there,” he said.
“There’s no doubt the Android platform is getting a very strong following and we are seeing great sales from the Galaxy S3, however there is a good portion of the population that love the Apple iOS system and therefore it will continue to be an extremely strong product.”
Mr Jordan said being able to connect to high-speed 4G networks – which are available via Telstra and Optus in some areas of Perth and regional WA – would make it easier to use the iPhone 5 to connect multiple devices to the internet through its “hot spot” feature.
“If you have a laptop, an iPad, a couple of devices all sharing that connection, you need the fastest possible link to the net you can get,” he said.
How they compare: iPhone 5 vs. Galaxy S3
Price: from $799 RRP*
Dimensions: 123.8mm x 58.6mm x 7.6mm
Weight: 112 gramsScreen: 4-inch, 1136x640 pixel resolution
Colours: black & slate / white & silver
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, no microSD slot
Cameras: 8-megapixel main (rear), 1.2MP forward facing camera with HD video
Battery capacity: Up to eight hours talk time and 225 hours standby
Connectivity: WiFi, 4G, Bluetooth, GPS (No NFC)
Other features: Panorama camera function, Siri voice-activated personal assistant, built-in digital passbook for plane tickets and vouchers
Samsung Galaxy S3*
Price: From $899 RRP
Dimensions: 136.6mm x 70.6mm x 8.6mm
Weight: 133gScreen: 4.8 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel resolution
Colours: Pebble blue / marble white
Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB available soon + MicroSD slot (up to 64GB)
Cameras: 8 megapixel main (rear), 1.9 megapixel front facing with HD video
Battery capacity: up to 10 hours talk time and 500 hours standby
Connectivity: WiFi, 4G, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC (near-field communication)
Other features: Direct call - lift phone to ear to dial contact; eye-movement recognition keeps screen active; ’burst mode’ takes eight pictures and picks the best, S Voice voice-activated commands, NFC chip for mobile payments
*NOTE: Price is RRP only, prices vary at different retailers e.g. Galaxy S3 is $777 at JB Hi-Fi