Apple's long-anticipated iPhone 5 made its way into the eager hands of millions of devotees who waited in long lines -- some for days at a time -- for first-day bragging rights.
In addition to North America, the 4-inch tall, long-term evolution high-speed data-equipped iPhone 5 also launched in parts of Europe and Asia. The new device, which succeeds the 4S launched just under a year ago, is also slimmer and lighter than its predecessors, with a faster processor and the new iOS 6 operating system.
At New York's Apple Store in midtown Manhattan, the line stretched from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue, reports said.
The device was not without disappointments when it was launched last week, without near-field communication for mobile payments or sharing and with a new connector that will require the purchase of adapters to connect to legacy docking cradles on all manner of accessories.
Moreover, Apple Maps, a native application that replaced Google maps, was found by early adopters to, well, suck. It reportedly contained such errors as mislabeled cities and phantom airports.
The term Mapgate quickly started trending on Twitter and across the tech blogosphere, evoking the 2010 so-called "Antennagate" glitch that affected the iPhone 4 when some users found that holding the phone in a way that crossed the twin antennas in its case caused connection problems.
But Kirk D. Parsons, wireless analyst at JD Power and Associates, said this was not a problem on that scale.
"[Apple) may have something up their sleeve. as I can't imagine they would have knowingly left the mapping tool app incomplete as it has been reported," Parsons told us on Friday. "I think the antenna situation was a different kind of issue that could have very easily not been known or tested for.
"This issue is a bit more obvious -- considering they made it clear they were not using the Google mapping app prior to the device release."
Duvi Stahler, 27, of Manhattan, pre-ordered his iPhone 5 via AT&T but as of Friday afternoon had no information about when it would arrive.
Stahler, who does marketing for a non-profit organization, said he has owned every previous version of the iPhone except the 4S, which came out while his iPhone 4 was still under contract. "The Apple brand means quality, and easy to use," he told us Friday. Before the iPhone he owned a Palm Treo.
Stahler said he had already sampled Apple Maps by downloading iOS 6 for his current iPhone, which he plans to sell via Amazon.com.
"I'm not happy that it doesn't include public transportation," he said of the map app.
'Better With Time'
An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately return our e-mail for comment in time for publication, but earlier Friday the spokeswoman, Trude Muller, said in a statement: "We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."
Parsons noted that since Apple's initial response was that the mapping app will get better over time, "Could there be something more/bigger future plans for the app -- like location based services that are not yet launched?"
Surprisingly, iPhone 5 was not among the top-trending topics in the United States listed by Twitter Friday afternoon. At the top of the list was the promoted topic of Samsung's Galaxy S III.