Digital Life

Apple mania hits Australia as queue-jumpers pay for first dibs on iPhone 6

Australian Apple devotees are willing to pay a $100 premium to get the latest iPhone before anyone else.

Classified ads have appeared on online jobs marketplace Airtasker seeking the services of dedicated queuers to wait in line outside Apple's flagship Sydney store on the release date of the iPhone 6.

Sydney: A queue for the iPhone 5 in 2012.
Sydney: A queue for the iPhone 5 in 2012. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Two near-identical ads say they "require someone to queue up from 3:30am on the morning of the launch day (to be determined after Apple's announcement next week) to obtain 2 iPhone 6 [sic] and physically deliver it to a office [sic] address in the city".

One user, "Bhim C", is prepared to pay $100 for the task via PayPal, while the other, "Daniel P", will pay the same amount in cash.

An ad for queue pros on Airtasker.
An ad for queue pros on Airtasker. Photo: Screenshot

The latest iteration of Apple's flagship smartphone is widely expected to be unveiled at an Apple event on September 9, with the actual release date 10 days later, on September 19.

People are already queuing up outside Apple's flagship store in New York City. Brazilian publicaton Veja reported some people were charging $US1250 ($1337) for a place in the queue in New York.


One of the Australian task posters, based in Hong Kong and whose real name is Jon, is aiming to be the first person in the world to nab an iPhone 6. 

Australian buyers get first dibs because of the local time zone, which is several hours ahead of the US and other parts of the world.

Jon plans to piggy-back on the hype to promote a new website by giving the phone away as a prize.

It seems the going rate for line-waiters in Australia has dropped since July, when Game of Thrones fans posted offers of up to $150 on Airtasker for people to queue for a touring exhibit of the popular TV series at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Analysts expect Apple to unveil two iPhone 6 models – one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.5-inch screen, the iPhone 6L – with some speculating on a staggered release.

Apple is also rumoured to be launching its first wearable device, dubbed the iWatch, at the event in Cupertino, California, where its global headquarters are based.

The growing hype around the September 9 event risks overshadowing other unveilings this week at Berlin's IFA consumer electronics show, including new Samsung Galaxy Note and Sony Xperia Z3 smartphones.

This is despite Apple, in keeping with previous product releases, not having made any official announcements or run any official publicity around the rumoured releases.

Invitations to the launch event, delivered last week, simply had the September 9 date printed on them, along with the words: "Wish we could say more."

Professional queuer "Steve P" has already made a few quick bucks using Airtasker, lining up twice outside Apple's George Street store in Sydney for a total of 10 days.

He was one of the first people in the world to purchase the iPhone 5 last year. 

Airtasker co-founder Tim Fung told Fairfax Media paying people to queue was "becoming a bit of an industry".

Limited edition Nike Air Jordan XX9 sneakers, due to hit stores on September 6, are also a contender for the queue-jumping industry.

Airtasker was working on an app to help people find "line-uppers" quicker, Mr Fung said.