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Phones

iPhone 4 launch day: Surrey goes iCrazy

The hysteria over iPhone 4 is spreading across the whole country like wildfire -- we hung with our homies in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey

Although the glamorous place to buy an iPhone 4 was at the flagship Apple Store on Regent Street -- as the intrepid Luke Westaway found out -- there was plenty of interest in the 'burbs too. Out in sunny Kingston upon Thames, there was a large number of punters queuing all over the place.

The advantage of buying a phone at a major shopping mall like the Bentall Centre is there are number of retail outlets to choose from. So at first the queue at the Apple store looked understandably modest. What we didn't appreciate at first was that the 50 or so people outside were behind hundreds of people inside the shopping centre itself.

The Bentall Centre has its own 'security' team (above), who meanly wouldn't allow us to take photos inside the shopping centre itself. It's private land, so that's understandable. But we were also reprimanded for taking some crowd shots outside, which seemed a bit much.

So we moved over to the Carphone Warehouse, which had a modest queue but some friendly people telling us about why they were there and how long they'd been waiting for this new handset -- quite a while, it turns out. A mother and daughter were both planning on buying a phone, but the daughter had to go to school, so delegated purchasing duties to Mum.

 

As we chatted to punters at the Carphone Warehouse, they told us the line for the O2 store was even longer. We wandered around the corner and were greeted with one of the most ludicrous queues we've ever seen -- and being British, queuing is something we're extensively familiar with. O2 only had 100 iPhones and they were only selling to existing customers -- although broadband subscribers were eligible, as person number six in the queue told us.

The atmosphere in the O2 queue was excellent, the people were chatty and excited about their new phones. There were a mix of ages and professions, and people who are iPhone owners already and those buying their first iDevice today.

Heading into the Bentall Centre, we checked out the Apple Store. We weren't able to take photos inside (*roll eyes*), but trust us when we say the sight was incredible. There was an orderly queue of people snaking around almost the entire shopping centre. Starbucks staff were handing out coffee to people and there seemed to be free water and petite sandwiches on offer too.

It has to be said, we didn't expect such massive interest in the iPhone 4 in a place like Kingston. But there must have been at least 500 people at the different retailers waiting to buy one.

Let us know about your iPhone 4 queueing experiences in the comments below. Did you get your hands on one? Were there epic queues all over the country? Or was it all rather a let-down where you were?