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iPhone 5 Goes on Sale Around the World, First Impressions

The iPhone 5 has been launching across the world this evening, starting in Australia and now extending into Europe. The iPhone 5 will go on sale in the U.S. at 8am local time. posted this image of the Frankfurt, Germany Apple Store shortly before it opens. USA Today reports on large lines in many countries:
Eager buyers formed long lines at Apple stores in Australia and Japan. In Hong Kong, buyers had to sign up online for the chance to pick up the device at a preset time. The first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting "iPhone 5! iPhone 5!" and high-fiving them as they were escorted through the front door.
Meanwhile, one reader from Australia has posted their first impressions of their new iPhone 5 and has been posting more photos in the thread.

Of their new iPhone, thaifood wrote:
The screen size is noticeably taller. The change in aspect ratio feels good. The lack of increase in width seems awkward in photos, but when you hold it you understand how much more comfortable it feels when compared to a wider phone. The dock is so tiny now! I almost missed it when checking out the bottom of the device. The speaker grills also look great in the finished modal. They do not appear as large as photos portray them to be.
Italian site has posted their own unboxing photos and video.

Those who have pre-ordered can follow their packages with others in our AT&T, Apple (U.S.), UK, Canadian, Verizon or Sprint pre-order discussion threads. The iPhone 5 will become available in the U.S. at retail stores at 8 a.m. local time.

iPhone 5 Now on Sale in the U.S.

The iPhone 5 just launched in the U.S. along the east coast. Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt is at the 5th Avenue Store and notes that the line is longer than last year's iPhone 4S line:
We're here at the big glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) flagship Fifth Avenue store for the launch of the iPhone 5. The queue of customers isn't as long as the 1,200 that greeted the iPad 2, but at 7 a.m. -- one hour before doors open -- I counted 710 heads, 52% more than the 400 at the iPhone 4S launch.
The first day pre-orders for the iPhone 5 doubled last year's iPhone 4S launch. That initial set of pre-orders for the iPhone 5 should arrive throughout the day.

Early iPhone 5 Purchases Trend Toward iPhone 4S Upgraders and Black Models Amid Long Lines

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has released a new report analyzing some launch-day iPhone 5 data based on a limited survey of 100 purchasers at Apple retail stores in New York City. According to White's data, half of surveyed iPhone 5 were upgrading from the iPhone 4S, which itself was released only 11 months ago.
Given that the iPhone 4S was launched just one year ago and many consumers are locked into a two-year service agreement with their carrier, we thought the vast majority of the upgrades would come from iPhone 4, previous iPhone generations or non-iPhone users. However, our survey indicates the opposite. In fact, our survey found that 50% of the iPhone 5 buyers upgraded from the iPhone 4S, 11% from the iPhone 4, 3% for 3GS and 36% from non-iPhone users.
Among non-iPhone users moving to the iPhone 5, White found that Nokia and HTC were the most popular phone brands being abandoned for the iPhone 5. White also surveyed customers on their iPhone 5 color preferences, finding that 56% of surveyed buyers were opting for the "Black and Slate" models over "White and Silver" models.

In a separate report, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster discusses his team's visits to Apple's Fifth Avenue and Upper West Side retail stores in New York City and the Uptown store in Minneapolis, where they found that lines were on average 83% longer for the iPhone 5 than they were for the iPhone 4S. Munster also had representatives counting customers at the Chestnut Hill and Bolyston Street stores in the Boston area, but with no prior-year data available for those locations, they primarily serve as a baseline for future analysis.
We believe that based on our count of 775 customers in line for the iPhone 5 at the flagship 5th Avenue store, demand for the iPhone 5 is higher than any previous launch. We believe the line for the iPhone 5 was 70% greater than the line for the iPhone 4S despite Apple taking 2x as many online pre-orders. The trend of Apple product lines at the flagship store had been decreasing, we believe, due to the company taking a greater number of online pre-orders. For the three total stores we observed with Y/Y comps, the average line was 83% longer. Given the strength of the line for the iPhone 5, we are incrementally more confident in Apple's ability to sell 8 million phones in the launch weekend.

Many third-party retailers are experiencing very low stock of the iPhone 5, resulting in delays in availability even for customers who pre-ordered the device. Availability at Apple's own retail stores appears to be remaining fairly high, although some locations are very low on or completely out of select models. Carrier availability has also generally been fairly good in stores, although Sprint is now running out of stock at its East Coast stores.

Update 11:45 AM: Munster has now released his own results on iPhone 5 customer profiles, painting a very different picture than that seen by White. Munster's survey of 517 iPhone 5 buyers found just 26% of them upgrading from the iPhone 4S, compared to 50% in White's survey. Munster's survey found that 45% of customers were upgrading from the iPhone 4, while White pegged that number at just 11%. Finally, while White's data showed 36% of customers were moving from a non-iPhone, Munster's data put the number closer to 17%, with the vast discrepancies across the board illustrating the unreliability of such surveys.