In a now familiar global ritual, which feels more like waiting for a concert than buying a product, Apple fans jammed shops all over the world, including the Bay Area, to pick up the latest and greatest iPhone, hours before the latest edition of the smartphone went on sale at 8 a.m.
In Los Gatos, for example, there were at least 80 people standing or sleeping out on the streets waiting to pick up the new iPhone5.
"I just didn't want to wait," said a man in line who went by his first name of Mohammed.
Among the first people in the world to get their hands on the new smartphone were those in Australia, due to the time difference. One of those customers was none other than Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Already in Australia to speak at a technology forum, Woz got his phone after securing the first spot in line outside an Apple store down under. He checked in on Foursquare saying, "In line for the first iPhone 5's in the world!" from an Apple store in Chermside.
The scene was similar in other cities, too. In New York, hundreds of eager buyers formed long lines early Friday at Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone.
Some shoppers had camped out for a week in a queue that snaked around blocks at the city's six Apple stores. Many diehard fans said they preferred to stand in the lines rather than wait weeks to get their new phones in the mail. Others wanted to take part in what's become an annual tradition.
The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster "fourth generation" mobile networks.
The handset has become a hot seller despite initial lukewarm reviews and new map software that is glitch prone. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.
Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.
The smartphone went on sale in the U.S. and Canada hours after its launch in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain, France and Germany. It will launch in 22 more countries a week later.
In a sign of the intense demand, police in Osaka, Japan, were investigating the theft of nearly 200 iPhones 5s, including 116 from one shop alone, Kyodo News reported.
NBC 4 New York contributed to this report.