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

Date

Hannah Francis

Sydney: A queue for the iPhone 5 in 2012.

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

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.

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".

An ad for queue pros on Airtasker.

An ad for queue pros on Airtasker. Photo: Screenshot

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.

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.

63 comments so far

  • Do the first phone released/sold have anything special about them? Maybe extra features? Does the kudos of being first to buy last any longer than a day?

    Commenter
    Paul
    Location
    Camberwell
    Date and time
    September 04, 2014, 12:46PM
    • Yes, the first released/sold batch are usually buggy.

      Commenter
      Stevo
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 1:18PM
    • @Paul. If you don't get them straight away, you can be waiting for weeks. So the special feature about the first ones, is you know there will be some actually available on launch day. After that, who knows how long you wait.

      Commenter
      Douglas
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 1:47PM
    • The specialness is felt by the people in the queue dealing with all the media attention, photos being taken, staff encouragment etc. It has nothing to do with the actual device. It's the 15 minutes of fame thing. Really, you could just wait in the queue, get into the store, say you're just looking and head back home and have the same bs experience.

      Commenter
      Andy W
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 2:18PM
    • No it just shows that the old adage of "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time." is so true.
      Paying a premium for the first batch shows just how stupid some of the people really are and Apple plays on this to rip the people off again and again. Me, I have a Samsung, free of charge from my Telco and it does what I want without making me look an idiot lining up to part with my hard earned. There is one born every minute.

      Commenter
      thatmosis
      Location
      Isis central
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 2:58PM
    • @Douglas OMG!! You could be waiting WEEKS!?!?
      What sort of crazy mixed up world are we living in.

      This is the best example of as stupid tax I have seen for a while

      Commenter
      Dave
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 4:20PM
  • People waiting in a queue are not "queue-jumpers". The latter are the ones who push into a queue out of turn.

    Commenter
    trinch
    Date and time
    September 04, 2014, 12:47PM
    • I'm stronger than you, I will push into this queue.
      I am less polite than you, I will push into this queue.
      I have more money than you. I will buy my way in front of you.
      Queue Jumper - The only thing I won't do is stand in a line and wait.

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Oz
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 8:59PM
  • I could understand it if the iPhone was actually good. I would rather tattoo 'stupid' on my forehead than sit in that queue.

    Commenter
    Audiophiliac (The Almighty)
    Location
    Everywhere
    Date and time
    September 04, 2014, 1:48PM
    • No need for the tattoo, I think we've worked you out already

      Commenter
      F
      Date and time
      September 04, 2014, 5:33PM

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