Hundreds line sidewalks as Apple iPhone 6 hysteria takes over Sydney

Cheering Apple staff opened shop doors at 8am as sales commenced for Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple staff line the balconies...

Apple staff line the balconies...

Tents, sleeping bags, chairs and blankets were all laid against the cold pavement this morning as people woke up to what would be the final leg in a long wait for the next generation Apple iPhone.

First in line set up camp 9 days ago. The duo, representing start-up Alphatise, worked in shifts as they tried to secure the first iPhone 6.

The line folded onto itself as it wrapped the Apple store on George Street and worked its way down towards Sydney’s Darling Harbour, breaking only for driveways and roads, before ending at the corner of Market and Clarence Street.

The camp on Sydney’s pavements would’ve been a tough one as last night’s temperature dropped to 9 degrees.

Apple opened its doors at 8am with its staff, clad in blue ‘genius’ shirts, pressing against the store’s glass façade and chanting a countdown.

Nor was the Apple store the only shopfront people lined hoping to buy an iPhone 6. Optus, Telstra and Vodafone stores on George Street were all buzzing ahead of the 8am on-sale time.

The Samsung store on George Street had a line in front of it, too. This line was overflow from customers hoping to buy an iPhone 6.

Presales of the iPhone 6 opened last week to strong demand with Apple announcing 4 million had been sold within the first 24 hours. Interest was so great Apple’s website crashed, as did that of Optus, Vodafone and Telstra.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus mark a radical departure in being the first Apple smartphones to have large screens at 4.7in and 5.5in respectively.

New features include the ability to make phone calls over Wi-Fi, a 25 per cent faster processor, another dedicated to motion, and compatibility with Apple’s NFC payment system, if it is introduced in Australia.

My gripe with Apple's iPhones

The smartphones come with Apple’s updated operating system, iOS 8, which offers improved messaging, time-lapse video recording, a health application and enhanced photo editing features. Apple’s iOS 8 was made available to existing iPhones, iPads and iPods yesterday.

The cheapest plan on offer from the four big Australian telcos is available from Virgin Australia, which is offering the 16GB iPhone 6 from $55 a month.

Apple is selling the iPhone 6 from $869 and the iPhone 6 Plus from $999 for models coming with 16GB of internal storage. Top end models are priced at $1129 for the iPhone 6 and $1249 for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Nermin Bajric contributed to this report.

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