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War is over

The Apple iPhone 4 was launched to thousands of Australians who braved the wind and rain at midnight on 30 July with the focus shifting from last year's "first owner in Australia" to celebrities and glitzy parties.

In Sydney, Apple fans lined the streets and back alleys of the major telecommunications stores in George Street, with Optus attracting the largest crowd of around 600 people. Optus representatives said the line would take up to 10 hours to clear which was of little comfort to the last person in the line, Ryan, who said he found the queue "soul-destroying".

To keep the crowds occupied, Telstra trotted out the MasterChef contestants and judges, Optus brought out Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland, and taking a different tack Vodafone invited people to "queue" within the confines of the swanky Sydney nightclub The Ivy.

Most people that CNET Australia spoke to in line were unconcerned with the "antennagate" problems, where according to Apple's findings apparently holding any smartphone incorrectly would lead to reception problems.

The Apple iPhone 4 is available in two different varieties, 16GB and 32GB, and is available on contract or outright through Apple. For CNET Australia's full review and more see the iPhone launch centre.

Not greatly dissimilar to the public jubilation felt at the end of the second World War, Sydneysiders rejoiced at the strike of midnight as phone stores opened for the launch of Apple's iPhone 4. But it was an interesting night across town with pre-phone parties held by Optus, Vodafone and Telstra.

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Photo by: CBSi

Star studded

In previous years, the closest we've come to celebrities at the iPhone launch is Big Brother voice-over king Mike Goldman. This year Optus spared no expense, hosting a free concert by former Destiny's Child star Kelly Rowland.

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Photo by: CBSi

Bussed in

The VIP guests for the Kelly Rowland gig were actually the same people who queued earlier in the night outside the Optus flagship store on George St in Sydney's CBD. Optus surprised these early birds with a break from the queue and a place-holder to hold their position in line.

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Photo by: CBSi

Meanwhile...

Telstra customers were treated to tasty treats prepared and served by a handful of contestants from the insanely popular MasterChef Australia cooking contest. Here we see the front of the Telstra queue watching finalist Alvin Quah.

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Photo by: CBSi

Fast food

MasterChef's Courtney Roulston dashes past with a fresh batch of finger food for the hungry punters.

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Photo by: CBSi

You know you've made it when...

Callum Hann, MasterChef's runner-up, being interviewed by CNET Australia's Ty Pendlebury and looking very, umm, relaxed.

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Photo by: CBSi

Meanwhile...

Vodafone and 3 Mobile customers lap up the luxury at the Ivy nightclub in Sydney. VHA employed an ingenious system of giving interested customers a numbered wristband, invited them to the club for a drink then escorted them back to the store when their number was called.

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Photo by: CBSi

Meanwhile...

While the VHA customers sipped anxiously at their drinks and contemplated chatting up the promo girls, the Optus faithful braved the increasingly chilly winter's evening. And if you think you can see the end of this line you are sorely mistaken.

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Photo by: CBSi

The bowels of the iPhone queue

Seriously, this line snaked around the block, back up the other side of the block, one final kink and all the way back down this back alley again.

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Photo by: CBSi

A banana and a monkey

There is absolutely nothing unusual about this image. Optus employees donned either banana or monkey costumes and handed out application forms to speed up the signing-up process later in the evening.

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Photo by: CBSi

Meanwhile...

Optus staff inside the store look much more tense than the bananas outside.

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The final countdown

Finally, the magical hour approached. Soon the backpacks would be full of phones, on the backs of sleepy ... umm ... iPhonies.

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Photo by: CBSi

Thank Jobs!

There was a certain amount of excitement and relief when the doors finally opened, but nothing quite like this guy's reaction. Hallelujah indeed.

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Photo by: CBSi

Worth its wait in cold

Sam Dunster, the first person in line at the Telstra George St store, clutches his brand new Apple iPhone 4.

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Photo by: Telstra

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