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HIGH IQUEUE; Stores emptied by 8am in scramble for new Apple 5S.

Byline: RUKI SAYID Consumer Editor

APPLE mania swept the UK yesterday with an iPhone 5S sell-out within minutes, leaving thousands of furious gadget fans empty-handed.

Some stores were cleaned out by 8am shortly after their doors opened, with seething diehards who had queued through the night turned away.

Worldwide sales of the much-hyped fingerprint phone are expected to hit 3.2 million this weekend with the UK allocation of an estimated 50,000 already gone. Insiders revealed "unexpectedly limited stock" of the 5S caused the shortage. A gold version of the handset was like "gold dust" with one mobile provider saying the colour was as rare as "hen's teeth".

Privately, the phone industry was angry over Apple's "drip feeding" of the 5S.

But the gadget king's cheaper 5C model - also out yesterday - was still available with global sales set to hit 4.5 million this weekend. Glen Yeung, analyst at US firm Citi, predicted total iPhone sales of 7.75 million in the first three days of launch. Apple made the unusual move of banning pre-orders of the 5S - the Holy Grail of handsets - while opening the order books for the 5C a week ago.

Shelves in Liverpool and Cardiff were empty by 8am and Sheffield's Meadowhall store had been cleared by lunchtime.

Shopper Richard Devine tweeted: "Half the queue just got sent home."

Furious Irfan Patel, 28, who joined the queue at 1am, also left disappointed.

He said: "They just let us stand here waiting instead of telling us that we had no chance of getting a 5S. People have been given tickets and staff have let them buy up to four phones each. Apple should have limited it to one per customer."

Geeks planning to buy a new 5S online were equally hard done by as EE's website crashed under huge demand with all networks expecting a sell-out by today. nd ng le es n p-Even the official Apple website had no new iPhones in gold, silver or slate grey in stock with the first shipments due next month. And iPhone fans, who are on a waiting-list with the major networks, won't get a handset for up to 10 days.

re e a MUST-HAVE ck Last night get-rich-quick merchants were cashing in on the shortage and touting the much-hyped 5S for up to PS2,000 on auction website eBay, in any colour.

There was a brisk black market close to Apple's flagship store in Regent Street, London, where phones changed hands for PSPS100 more than their face value.

The phones, sold in Apple's dwbhbo distinctive white carrier bags with silver logo, were placed in blue plastic carrier bags and handed to buyers in cars with blacked out windows for wads of PS50 notes.

The first person to lay his hands on the iPhone 5S was ecstatic Noah Green, a 17-yearold student of Stanmore, North West London.

heoW He had camped outside the Regent Street Apple store since Monday and jumped for joy as he left with his prized iPhone, beaming: "I'm the first in the UK and I've got the best phone."

iPhone Rsji fi b " An Apple spokesman said: "Demand for the new iPhones has been incredible."

A Carphone Warehouse spokesman added: "There's always a huge customer buzz when new iPhones hit the shelves."

ruki.sayid@mirror.co.uk VOICE OF THE MIRROR: PAGE 12 CARDIFF LIVERPOOL BIRMINGHAM HONG KONG LONDON 7.7m Number of iPhones expected to be sold worldwide over the next three days

CAPTION(S):

Huma Khan bought two 5S mobiles

Trader sells on phones

Buyers camped on the streets

Fans queued before stores opened up

Geeks were out in force at the Liverpool One centre

Desperate fans wait outside Apple store
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 21, 2013
Words:618
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