The big queues maybe outside Apple (opens in new tab)'s flagship Regent Street store, but iPhone buyers are queueing up in other areas too. Here in Bath there were around 30 people standing inline outside the O2 (opens in new tab) store - many were long-time Mac (opens in new tab) users and on O2 contracts too
One lady who didn't wish to be named [we'll call her Ms. X] because she was still supposed to be at work (!) said she was buying one "because my iPod (opens in new tab) is broken, the iPhone looks very cool and because my husband said I could. I asked him nicely."
She said she was an existing O2 subscriber already and a Mac user she had to have because because it's "the next cool thing to have" from Apple.
Ms X wasn't tempted by the very similar iPod touch - essentially the iPhone without a phone - because she wanted an all-in-one device.
The iPhone will get 'better and better'
Paul Baines from Bath said he was buying an iPhone today because he was told the model he bought in the US couldn't be used on O2's network here. Ouch. He doesn't mind though:
"I like its synchronicity with the Mac and because [Apple] can add new software it'll just keep gettting better and better."
"With any other phone you can only do what the buttons tell you to do," Baines said. "Whereas with [the iPhone] it has no [physical] buttons so you can do whatever you want.
Baines also said that the iPhone's simplicity was important.
"It just works. It's like the Mac. Even my dad can use one."
Lack of 3G is a 'mistake'
Baines - who has been using a Mac for eight years - also said that Apple had done a very good job of hiding the iPhone's lack of 3G capability. When told that could happen next year, he warned:
"You have to be very careful of charging £270 for a phone per year to upgrade... I think not including 3G was a mistake."
Also queueing outside the Bath O2 store was Stuart Wilkes of Mac IT consultancy Iscentia. He said he was buying an iPhone because he knew his customers would be asking questions about it on Monday.
"It is a very, very good product." Wilkes said. "I'd say to all the naysayers have a play with it and then tell us what you think."
"I think it's a good price for what it is. I think the [user interface], despite what other companies say, is revolutionary. I want to go and make my own mind up about it."
iPhone failings don't bother me
Wilkes was also dismissive of question marks about the iPhone's lack of a user-replaceable battery, something that's now the subject of three lawsuits in the US.
"This is a version 1.0 product. Apple has had to develop it from scratch. It's only by sending it out into the world that they'll know what the problems are... any failings don't really bother me at the moment. I want to experience it."
Most iPhone buyers in the Bath seemed to have converged on the O2 store. Carphone Warehouse (opens in new tab) just down the road only had a handful of people waiting outside when it opened at 6.02pm... although some of the O2 crowd reappeared here, possibly after finding out about an alternative to the longer wait at the O2 store.
Either way, the O2 store manager reported that they had shifted 35 iPhones in an hour, meaning a cool £9,415 in business.
Carphone Warehouse, meanwhile, were going to the lengths of demoing iPhones to more casual shoppers, hoping to tempt them into parting with the £269 need to secure the device.