Glitches upset Apple cart as new iPhone brings high-fives

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Apple enthusiasts round the world scrambled to snap up the new iPhone 5 yesterday.

Fans flocked to shops to get their hands on its newest bit of kit with mobile carriers reporting record demand. But the launch was not without its hiccups as fights broke out in queues, phones were stolen and users complained about the new iPhone’s maps feature.

In London, almost 1,300 customers queued outside Apple’s flagship store in Regent Street, while some had camped at the company’s shop in Covent Garden for up to a week to be at the front of the queue. Store workers formed a passageway and high-fived customers as they ushered them in.

The new phone, which is thinner and lighter than previous models and can use the newly-announced 4G network, costs from £529. It is already guaranteed to be a best-seller, with Apple saying pre-orders around the world reached two million in just 24 hours and many customers are not expected to receive theirs until October.

The new 4G network will offer speeds up to five times faster than 3G and allow uninterrupted access to the web on the go, high-definition films to be downloaded in minutes and TV to be streamed without buffering.

Buyers praised the new phone for its simple user interface but there were also complaints about its maps application, with reports of geographical errors and missing information.

In Manchester, police were called to the Arndale shopping centre after reports of scuffles among the queing crowds. No arrests were made. Police in London said they wanted to speak with an 02 store worker after 252 iPhone 5s that were to go on sale at the Tandem Centre in Wimbledon, south London, were stolen.

Apple’s embattled competitor Research In Motion (RIM) apologised for fresh disruption for users of its BlackBerry devices.

Services were quickly restored, but it came in the wake of an “outage” last year which affected millions.