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Apple iPhone 4S goes on sale in New York

The Big Apple gets excited - but not that excited - about the iPhone 4S

Media attention may currently be focused on what's going on in Wall Street, but a few miles to the north on the corner of East 59th Street and 5th Avenue it wasn't the economy that everyone was talking about but Apple's latest iPhone.

It was a grey, miserable morning in New York City but it hadn't deterred those outside the flagship Apple Store on the border of the Midtown East and Upper East Side districts, and a fair few had been there through the night to get as close to the front of the line - which stretched back all the way to Madison Avenue at 8am - as possible.

The store, which is still undergoing a dramatic makeover, is largely hidden behind behind boards at the moment, but that hadn't dampened the mood among those queuing either. And as well as the excitement about the iPhone 4S, there were plenty of tributes to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to be seen.

However, it was the blue-shirted Apple Store staff that were making the most noise when the iPhone 4S buyers were ushered into the store in small groups. The store was open for other business as well, but inside the store there was little attention being paid to anything other than the iPhone 4S.

It wasn't just Apple Stores where people were queuing - outside a new Uniqlo store a few blocks away there was a decent crowd, though it had nothing to do with the iPhone 4S. However, we saw Verizon, Sprint and AT&T stores all with lines outside them, and many with people inside trying out the new hardware. One T-Mobile store we saw on 5th Avenue looked rather sad and completely empty.

At another Apple Store on the corner of 9th Avenue and West 14th Street where the Chelsea and West Village districts collide, the queue had all but diminished by 10am, with fewer than 30 people waiting in line outside, though CNN reported that the line had been "around the block" at 8am. Inside the store, the iPhone 4S display was busy, but we still managed to get our hands on one straightaway to give it a quick tryout.

Unfortunately, the background noise - of potential customers chatting to staff and the self-consciously hip music being piped into the store - we weren't able to put Siri through its paces, though we took a few images on the camera and filmed some full HD footage and were suitable impressed by the results.

At both the Apple Stores we visited, there were people outside offering to by old and unwanted handsets, as well as a few TV crews, reporters, people taking photographs and some general gawpers. However, we couldn't help but think that the levels of excitement just weren't quite at fever pitch, similar to the scenes we saw in London earlier this year at the iPad 2 launch.

Whether that was because of the events taking place in Wall Street, the weather, or a general lack of excitement over the new iPhone - after all, a lot of people were expecting the iPhone 5, not something that looks very similar to the iPhone 4 and has a name that suggests an incremental upgrade - it's hard to tell. It has been the fastest-selling iPhone so far, so it seems unlikely.

Nevertheless, it won't go down as one of the more memorable Apple launches in NYC, we fear.


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