Apple superfan Paul Rayner queued for almost 22 hours to beat hundreds of others to the new iPhone 6 at Sheffield’s Meadowhall.
And he’s been doing it for years.
Paul, aged 47, a civil servant from Chesterfield, admits that people who think he’s crazy are “probably right”.
But he says he loves his Apple products and keeping up with technology so much that he always sets up camp to be at the front of the queue when there’s a new iPhone launch.
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Some fans were so keen to get their hands on the new iPhones they began camping outside the Apple store in Regent Street, London, on Monday.
More than 400 people were behind Paul in the Meadowhall queue as Apple staff took part in a 10-second countdown before opening its doors at 8am and cheering fans were escorted in.
There were similar scenes at stores all over the world as fans snapped up the iPhone 6, with a 4.7ins screen and iPhone 6 Plus, boasting Apple’s biggest ever smartphone screen, at 5.5ins.
The new phones, announced only last week, are available in 10 countries, including the UK, the US, Australia and Singapore, and a further 20 next Friday.
Paul Rayner said: “I started queuing at 10.30am on Thursday - so about 22 hours. It was a long night and got quite cold at 2am.
“But they’ve been looking after us. We got some tea, coffee and chocolates - some champagne truffles.
“People who say I’m crazy are probably right. It’s my fifth year doing this. It takes some dedication.
“Every year I’ve learned and I’m kitted out. I have a chair for when I have to sleep outside. I have blankets, a flask and food.
“It’s nice to keep up with technology so I swap my phone every year. I’m not on rolling contract, so I’m not tied to one network and I sell my old phones, which pays towards the cost of a new one.I save up over the year. It’s something I prepare for. I’ll be back same time next year.”
“I wouldn’t queue for anything else. It’s just the Apple stuff. It all works and integrates together. It doesn’t seem to go wrong, which is what I like. I work in IT so it’s nice to have things that work.
“I bought two iPhone 6 phones, both 64GB. The 4.7 screen was big enough for me. But my daughter was with me and she went for the even bigger screened iPhone 6 Plus.
His daughter Madison, 19, an IT worker, also from Chesterfield, said: “I wanted the iPhone 6 Plus because it’s bigger then the standard one, which is better when you are watching films. I thought I’d try it.”
Mark Bruce, Meadowhall’s Retail Director, said: “Launching the new iPhone is always one of the busiest days on our retail calendar. We had over 400 in the queue. It’s a festival feel out there, a real event and great atmosphere.
“We work closely with Apple. We’ve got Starbucks and Hotel Chocolat, so we go up and down the queue making sure they are fed, watered and warm. It’s a great morning, really exciting.
“It’s a regular meeting place. A lot of them in the queue know one another now. We had deckchairs turning up yesterday afternoon.
“It’s the sign of Apple’s brand power. They are still the market leader. They continue to innovate and the type of guys in this queue, they want the latest device. It’s a bigart of their lives. It’s what they use, the functionality.
“There are deliveries every day and we are fortunate in we have got O2, EE, Vodaphone, Carphone Warehouse, sop plenty of other stockists. And there are deliveries every day. I am surte we will see, not quite this activity tomorrow morning, but on a busy Saturday they will be anopther load of stock arrive.”
Network operator EE said it will ensure that customers who pre-ordered new handsets through Phones 4u, which went into administration on Sunday, would still be able to get them in its stores.
A spokesman said: “All across the country we have set aside iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets, enough for Phones 4u customers who pre-ordered iPhones on EE through Phones 4u.
“If they go into EE stores and show their pre-order receipts they will be able to claim one of the devices.”
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