US Apple stores reporting orderly crowds for iPhone 5 launch

Apple store in San Francisco
Scene outside a San Francisco Apple store Friday
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Apple's iPhone 5 officially went on sale Friday, with the diehard camping outside retail stores overnight and long lines forming from New York to San Francisco.

Queues to buy the phone are reportedly 83 percent longer than those for the iPhone 4S in cities around the country as some analysts predict that between 6 million and 8 million iPhone 5's will be sold internationally before Monday morning.

Thieves have also heisted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of iPhone 5's in Japan, London, and Murfreesboro, Tenn. this week, adding to the excitement surrounding the 4-inch gadget.

It begins

However, despite the thousands streaming into U.S. Apple stores as soon as doors opened at 8 a.m., store employees and call center reps said the customer experience has been subdued pandemonium.

"Other stores aren't as busy as us, for sure, but things have been pretty orderly here," said an employee at San Francisco's Stockton St. Apple store, considered the city's flagship retail space. "There's about a 30-minute wait in line and we've got up to 500 people here."

The employee, who, as with all the sources TechRadar spoke with, declined to give his or her name, said that plenty camped out overnight to be the first with the iOS 6 handset in their hands.

Supplies there are holding steady, though the employee said exact figures couldn't be divulged.

"We remain vague on that to not raise people's hopes, but we haven't run out of stock yet," the employee said.

The iPhone 5 waiting game

Waiting seems to be theme of the day, as it took several minutes (not 30, though) to connect to an Apple call center representative in Chicago.

A Century City, Calif. Apple store employee reported several hundred people were waiting in and outside the business.

"We're just trying to get people in and out," the employee said. "There's been a long wait since this morning, but we've got it pretty much facilitated."

No one's complained about the wait - as far as this employee could tell - especially after walking out with a brand new iPhone.

"Everyone seems pretty happy right now," the employee said.

In Kansas City, Mo., a line had formed halfway down the block by 11:45 p.m. PDT.

"It's been like that all morning," an employee said. "We're definitely crazier than normal."

In Palo Alto, Calif., home to Stanford University and just north of Apple's main campus in Cupertino, several people pitched tents overnight outside the store there to be the first with the phone.

Although the crowds were fierce Friday morning, they died down slightly as the afternoon wore on. The good vibes, however, remained.

"Heading into the weekend we'll have a lot of customers but a lot of employees," an employee there said. "We're handling it really well. Everyone is very excited."

TechRadar reached out to Apple for comment on how sales of the iPhone 5 are going as well as supply amounts and will update this story if and when the company provides comment.

From AppleInsider, 9to5Mac

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.