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Apple iPhone 6S global launch (pictures)

Sure, you can preorder an iPhone these days, but Apple's newest smartphones still draw lines. We visited Apple stores around the world to meet the biggest iPhone fans.

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CNET staff, Dave Cheng
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1 of 44 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Apple's latest smartphones, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, are hitting stores around the world Friday.

Shown here are the first three buyers at the Apple store in Sydney, Australia.

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2 of 44 Seamus Byrne/CNET

The first iPhone 6S buyers in Sydney show off their smartphones.

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3 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Jonathan Pierrard emerges from the Apple store with his new 64GB space-gray iPhone 6S, the first to be sold in Paris.

First Paris iPhone 6S customer
4 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

In Paris, Jonathan Pierrard was first in line for an iPhone 6S. The 26-year-old bicycle mechanic drove 4 hours from Belgium and waited 24 hours in line.

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5 of 44 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Justina Siciunaite, 25, was the first customer to get a new iPhone 6S at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York.

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6 of 44 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Justina Siciunaite, a visiting student from Lithuania, waited in line since around 2 a.m. at Apple's flagship store in New York to pick up her preordered iPhone 6S.

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7 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

The first person into the Apple Store at London's historic Covent Garden was Sam Shaikh, 29, from Stratford, who was also first in line for last year's launch.

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8 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

First customer Sam bought two phones -- one for himself and one for a benefactor he declined to name, who paid for both.

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9 of 44 Aloysius Low/CNET

Although there's is no Apple Store in Singapore, Apple premium resellers here also attract quite a queue.

First in line is Steve Pee, a 36-year-old IT executive who took a day off from work and started queueing at 6 a.m. today.  He's upgrading from 6 Plus and will be getting a 6S Plus in gold as the rose gold isn't available at the store.

"I can't wait to try out 4K video and the 3D Touch and having more RAM on the phone," he said.

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10 of 44 Aloysius Low/CNET

Nguyen Duy Hien, a 26-year-old student who specifically flew into Singapore from Vietnam to get a new iPhone, said he was originally first in line at midnight, but had to requeue the next morning because the mall where the Apple premium reseller store was located had closed for the night.

"Singapore's the nearest city with the iPhone and it's the first time I'm doing this, even though I travel here often," said Nguyen.

For Nguyen, who will be heading off to the airport straight after his purchase, a new 64GB rose gold iPhone 6S is what he'll be getting.

"I'm looking forward to try out 3D Touch and Live Photos."

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11 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Most people waiting for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were positioned in a lane of traffic nearby, but the front of the line snaked alongside Apple's store near the Paris Opera.

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12 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Manuel Cimarosti, a 38-year-old Parisian who has owned every iPhone since the first, enjoys the spectacle of iPhone launches. He's happy to reserve a place in line on the Internet though, which meant he had to wait only a half hour in line instead of the 6 hours he queued for his iPhone 5S. "This is so much better," he said.

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13 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Early iPhone 6S customers at Apple's Paris store were greeted by clapping and cheering Apple employees. It's enough of a spectacle that customers later in line recorded videos and took selfies.

Free advertising for a startup
14 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

In Paris, a dozen employees from food delivery startup Take Eat Easy took advantage of Apple's iPhone publicity. The company uses bicycle couriers to deliver food from 300 restaurants in Paris, but has operations in Berlin, London, Madrid and Bordeaux, France, said Juliette Pochart, from the company's marketing department.

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15 of 44 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Andreas Frantzis, 18, a recent high school graduate from Queens, waited in line for two weeks at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York.

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16 of 44 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

The line on Friday at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York, with its iconic glass cube entrance, was markedly smaller than last year's massive crowd for the iPhone 6.

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17 of 44 Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Salman Alotaibi, center, waited in line for three days at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York. The 18-year-old from Kuwait said he plans to replace his iPhone 6 Plus, which has a badly cracked screen, with a new rose gold iPhone 6S Plus.

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18 of 44 Dave Cheng/CNET

Apple's flagship Sydney store has gained status as the "first in the world" location where consumers can buy the company's new devices.

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19 of 44 Dave Cheng/CNET

Chris Norton (right) likes to queue for all new Apple devices. The weather in Sydney, Australia, wasn't quite what he'd hoped for this year.

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20 of 44 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Doors open for iPhone 6S sales at Apple's flagship store in Sydney.

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21 of 44 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Lucy Kelly sent a "telepresence robot" to hold her place to buy an iPhone 6S in Sydney. The robot is an Internet-connected iPad perched on top of a remote-controlled base station.

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22 of 44 Seamus Byrne/CNET

Fans prepare for the doors to open for iPhone 6S sales at Apple's flagship store in Sydney.

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23 of 44 Dave Cheng/CNET

The longest queuer in Sydney, Lindsay Handmer, slept in this tent for 17 days. He is raising money for charities that benefit the homeless.

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24 of 44 Dave Cheng/CNET

Even pets can't avoid the Sydney Apple queue.

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25 of 44 Aloysius Low/CNET

In Singapore, instead of queueing overnight for days, Apple fans can preorder their phones online from the carriers, before heading down early in the morning to pick up their phones before the work day begins. Apple does not currently have its own retail stores in the island-state.

SingTel, one of Singapore's three carriers, held a launch event at Marina Bay Sands. For customers of the two other carriers, purchases can be made at individual stores instead.

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26 of 44 Aloysius Low/CNET

While you generally don't have to queue overnight, getting to a store early puts you in a top-10 spot and gets you a confetti shower as well a pair of free headphones as a reward.

Daryl Lee (middle, holding a red T-shirt),  who works in customer service, was the first in line this morning at 4.45 a.m. He'll be upgrading from his iPhone 6 and getting the 128GB rose gold version. Lee, also an Apple Watch owner, says while the Watch is not a "must have," he found it quite handy to use. He looks forward to trying out the iPhone 6S' 3DTouch.

"While the better camera of the 6S is great and all, I don't take that many photos. I'm just upgrading because I want the latest phone," Lee said.

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27 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Barriers and security staff ringed historic Covent Garden market in London, but in the crisp morning air they weren't necessary as maybe a couple of hundred people joined the queue ahead of the 8 a.m. opening.

Not pictured: the chap on his way to work who stopped to ask our photographer what the queue was for, and rolled his eyes that people would make such a fuss about a phone. What a killjoy.

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28 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

International businessman Wolfy -- just one name, like Madonna -- was one of the characters in the queue in London. Originally from India and now living in High Wycombe, he'd brought his retinue to buy a 128GB iPhone 6S Plus. To describe his personal philosophy, he serenaded us with a few lines from Steve Miller Band classic "The Joker".

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29 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

In London, 23-year-old Faizan Vahora, originally from India, has attended iPhone launches for the last six years, and like many of the people in the queue planned to buy a rose gold iPhone.

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30 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

The big moment as the doors are flung open at the Apple Store in London.

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31 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

In London, Sudhakar (left) and Sam (right) had been queueing since 6 p.m. last night. Sam was after a rose gold iPhone 6S to add to his collection, having queued for every iPhone launch.

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32 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Rachel Anderson, originally from Ireland, was one of the first people in the store but had queued for just 10 minutes.

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33 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

In London, Apple staff keep up the energy with waving and more cheering.

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34 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Staff and customers gather for a selfie. Look at their little faces!

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35 of 44 James Martin/CNET

People wait in line Friday morning at the Apple Store on Stockton Street in San Francisco.

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36 of 44 James Martin/CNET

Pouya Halvaei, a 17-year-old student from Iran, was near the front of the line in San Francisco. He planned to buy the 64GB iPhone 6S in space gray for himself and the rose gold version for his mother.

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37 of 44 James Martin/CNET

Apple employees open the doors for customers waiting to buy the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus in San Francisco.

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38 of 44 James Martin/CNET

In San Francisco, most people were able to arrive Friday morning and quickly get their new iPhones.

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39 of 44 James Martin/CNET

iPhones ready to be sold at the Apple Store on Stockton Street in San Francisco.

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40 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Apple staff help the first customers with their new phones.

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41 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

You're never too young for an iPhone launch, it seems.

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42 of 44 Stephen Shankland/CNET

About two dozen members of the French news media recorded the arrival of the iPhone 6S. Even though lining up for the newest iPhone is hardly a new phenomenon eight years after Apple launched the first, it still is enough of an event to draw hundreds of people to stores year after year.

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43 of 44 James Martin/CNET

Just a few people are lined up outside the T-Mobile Store along Market Street in San Francisco at 7 a.m. Friday morning. T-Mobile this week confirmed it would also be selling the Apple Watch today.

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44 of 44 Richard Trenholm/CNET

Media from around the world gather in London for the big event.

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