In a now familiar global ritual, Apple fans jammed shops across the globe to pick up the tech juggernaut's latest iPhone.

Eager buyers formed long lines Friday at Apple Inc. stores in Asia, Europe and North America to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone.

In New York, several hundred people lined up outside Apple's 5th Avenue store. Jimmy Peralta, a 30-year-old business management student, waited three hours before getting the chance to buy his new gadget. Was it worth the wait?

"Definitely," he said, noting that the new phone's larger screen and lighter weight compelled him to upgrade from the iPhone 4. "A little treat for me on a Friday morning, why not. Why not be part of something fantastic? It's just such a smart phone it does all the thinking for you, you can't get any easier than that."

Catheryne Caveed, 23, was in line at a Verizon store in the Queens borough of New York. An iPhone 4 user, she had no regrets about skipping last year's model, the iPhone 4S. The only real upgrade in the 4S, she said, was Siri, the voice-controlled "personal assistant."

"The 4S looked the same as the 4," Caveed said. With the 5, "everything is different — even the headphones."

In London, some shoppers had camped out for a week in a queue that snaked around the block. In Hong Kong, the first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting "iPhone 5! iPhone 5!" and high-fiving them as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door.

The smartphone will be on sale in the U.S. and Canada hours after its launch in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain, France and Germany. It will launch in 22 more countries a week later. The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster "fourth generation" mobile networks.

The handset has become a hot seller despite a new map app that early users have deemed inferior to Google Maps, the software it replaces. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.

In a sign of the intense demand, police in Osaka, Japan, were investigating the theft of nearly 200 iPhones 5s, including 116 from one shop alone, Kyodo News reported. In London, police sought help finding a man wanted in connection with the theft of 252 iPhone 5s from a shop in Wimbledon early Friday morning.

Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.

Some fans went to extremes to be among the first buyers by arriving at Apple's flagship stores day ahead of the release.

In downtown Sydney, Todd Foot, 24, showed up three days early to nab the coveted first spot. He spent about 18 hours a day in a folding chair, catching a few hours' sleep each night in a tent on the sidewalk.

Foot's dedication was largely a marketing stunt, however. He writes product reviews for a technology website that will give away the phone after Foot reviews it.

"I just want to get the phone so I can feel it, compare it and put it on our website," he said while slumped in his chair.

In Paris, the phone launch was accompanied by a workers' protest — a couple dozen former and current Apple employees demonstrated peacefully to demand better work benefits. Some decried what they called Apple's transformation from an offbeat company into a multinational powerhouse.

But the protesters — urged by a small labor union to demonstrate at Apple stores around France — were far outnumbered by lines of would-be buyers on the sidewalk outside the store near the city's gilded opera house.

Not everyone lining up at the various Apple stores was an enthusiast, though. In Hong Kong, university student Kevin Wong, waiting to buy a black 16 gigabyte model for 5,588 Hong Kong dollars ($720), said he was getting one "for the cash." He planned to immediately resell it to one of the numerous grey market retailers catering to mainland Chinese buyers. China is one of Apple's fastest growing markets but a release date for the iPhone 5 there has not yet been set.

Wong was required to give his local identity card number when he signed up for his iPhone on Apple's website. The requirement prevents purchases by tourists including mainland Chinese, who have a reputation for scooping up high-end goods on trips to Hong Kong because there's no sales tax and because of the strength of China's currency. Even so, the mainlanders will probably buy it from the resellers "at a higher price — a way higher price," said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1,000 ($129).

A similar money-making strategy was being pursued in London, where many in the crowds — largely from the city's extensive Asian community — planned to either send the phones to family and friends back home as gifts or sell them in countries where they are much more expensive.

"It makes a really nice gift to family back home," said Muhammad Alum, 30, a minicab driver from Bangladesh. "It will be two or three weeks before there is a SIM card there that can work it, but it's coming soon."

Others who had waited overnight said the iPhones cost roughly twice as much in India as in Britain, making them very welcome as gifts.

Tokyo's glitzy downtown Ginza district not only had a long line in front of the Apple store, but another across the main intersection at Softbank, the first carrier in Japan to offer iPhones.

Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he's an Apple fan because it's an innovator.

"I love Apple," he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.

"It's only the iPhone for me."

___

Chan reported from Hong Kong.

Ted Shaffrey and Peter Svensson in New York, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Faris Mokhtar in Singapore, Tom Rayner and Gregory Katz in London and Oleg Cetinic in Paris contributed to this report.

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  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • US-IT-APPLE IPHONE 5

    Hazem Sayed exits the Apple store on Fifth Avenue after purchasing his new iPhone 5 on September 21, 2012 in New York. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores around the world on Friday, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 as other people walk past the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers take photos while waiting on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Customers wait on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Nurse Angelie Mok waits on line to purchase the Apple iPhone 5 outside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Hotly Anticipated iPhone 5 Goes In Sale In Stores

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Branden Busby poses with his new Apple iPhone 5 inside the Apple Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale on September 21, 2012 in New York City. Customers lined up for days to purchase the hotly anticipated device which went on sale nationwide today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

  • Consumers wait in line outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the imminent release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Greg Packer, 49, celebrates as he enters the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A consumer captures the celebration on his Apple products as he enters the Fifth Avenue Apple store for the release of the iPhone 5, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A clock symbol is displayed on an iPad with the new iOS 6 Friday, Sept.21, 2012 in Nauen, eastern Germany. Switzerland's national rail company is accusing Apple Inc. of stealing the iconic look of its station clocks for the iOS 6 operating system used by iPhone and iPad mobile devices. Both designs have a round clock face with black indicators except for the second hand which is red. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

  • Hazem Sayed, 54, the first in line to purchase the new iPhone 5, holds up his new phone in front of media outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Greg Packer, 49, is cheered on as he celebrates with his newly purchased iPhone 5 in hand outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Hazem Sayed, 54, the first in line to purchase the new iPhone 5, takes pictures outside the Fifth Avenue Apple store, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, in New York. Hundreds of people waited in line through the early morning to be among the first to get their hands on the highly anticipated phone. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Britain's Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medallist, Jade Jones, becomes one of the first people in the UK to receive the new iPhone 5 at the O2 store in the Arndale Centre, Manchester.

  • GERMANY-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE-IPHONE

    Customers queue to enter the Apple Store where a giant logo is displayed in the southern German city of Munich on September 21, 2012 as the iPhone 5 goes on sale. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • AUSTRALIA-TECHNOLOGY-APPLE-IPHONE-PROTEST

    Francis Le holds up a placard in his mock food queue outside Apple's flagship store in Sydney on September 20, 2012, in opposition to the queue of people waiting to buy the new iPhone 5 which goes on sale in Australia on September 21. Le is calling for public support to highlight what he calls the madness of endless consumption and to contrast it with desperate people around the corner, and in other corners of the world. Le wants to highlight the disparity between those who wait overnight for unnecessary phone upgrades and those who wait for food, water and safety.” AFP PHOTO/William WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple store staff (in blue) give out free drinks and chocolate to Apple fans queuing on the pavement for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple store staff (R-in blue) give out free drinks and chocolate to Apple fans queuing on the pavement for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple fans wait for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • JAPAN-US-IT-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple fans queue along the pavement to wait for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 5 in front of an Apple Store in Tokyo on September 20, 2012, while an iPad (R) reads '15 hours more for iPhone 5'. Gadget lovers have flooded Apple with pre-orders and set up camp outside the company's real-world stores to get their hands on the new-generation iPhone 5 set for release on September 21. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • HONG KONG-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    A man (C) resells an iPhone 5 he just bought outside the Hong Kong Apple store on September 21, 2012. A gray market for the new iPhone sprang up on the doorstep of the Apple store in Hong Kong, where resellers offered more than 50 percent above the retail price. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees cheer as customers are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale In Germany

    BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 21: A young woman walks out of a shop advertising the new Apple iPhone 5 on the first day the smartphone went on sale on September 21, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Apple is reporting over 2 million pre-order for its new phone, which went on sale globally today. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Apple employees cheer at the crowd as the first in line enter into the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, leaves the Apple store in Covent Garden after being the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, is cheered by Apple employees as he is let into the Apple store in Covent Garden to be the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees cheer as customers are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • GERMANY-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE-IPHONE

    Customers queue to enter the Apple Store where a giant logo is displayed in the southern German city of Munich on September 21, 2012 as the iPhone 5 goes on sale. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOF STACHE (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People are served free coffee while waiting in a nearby park while queueing for the Apple Store to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone on the day of its release at Regents Street in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Apple workers count money as a customer buys the new iPhone 5 at the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Apple staff outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers enter the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • New iPhone goes on sale

    Customers queue outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London, as the new iPhone 5 goes on sale.

  • FRANCE-US-APPLE-IPHONE

    A customer (L) holds euro banknotes to purchase an Apple's new iPhone 5 smartphone beside an employee in an Apple store, on September 21, 2012 in Paris. The iPhone 5 goes on sale on September 21, 2012 in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • FRANCE-US-APPLE-IPHONE

    An employee holds euro banknotes beside an Apple's new iPhone 5 smartphone at a cash register in an Apple store, on September 21, 2012 in Paris. The iPhone 5 goes on sale on September 21, 2012 in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/GettyImages)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: People queue outside the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: People queue outside the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: Apple employees cheer at the crowd as the first in line get into the Apple store in Covent Garden to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, is cheered by Apple employees as he is let into the Apple store in Covent Garden to be the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • The Apple iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: First in the queue Ryan Williams 22, of Kent, leaves the Apple store in Covent Garden after being the first to purchase the iPhone 5 smartphone on September 21, 2012 in London, England. Mr Williams hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK by auctioning the phone, and has been queuing for nearly a week. The much anticipated Apple iPhone 5 went on sale across the globe today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    An Apple Store employee gestures after dealing with customers waiting to buy the iPhone 5 outside the shop at Regent's Street in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    People queue outside the Apple Store to buy the iPhone 5 at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • BRITAIN-US-IT-INTERNET-TELECOM-APPLE

    Apple Store employees create a tunnel for customers as they are allowed into the shop to buy the new iPhone 5 smartphone while a customer (top L) leaves with a new phone on the day of its release at Covent Garden in London on September 21, 2012. Apple's iPhone 5 hit stores in a festive global rollout, with long queues of devotees undeterred by a lukewarm welcome from experts and complaints about the smartphone's new mapping system. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/GettyImages)


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