Apple Store employees welcoming the first people waiting for the iPhone 5 at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City (Photo Credit: Twitter/David M. Ewalt, @dewalt)
The iPhone 5 officially launched at 8 a.m. granting Apple fans access to the coveted device after waiting in lines that seemingly stretched around city blocks endlessly.
With more than two million pre-orders being fulfilled, in addition to forthcoming purchases from consumers later in the holiday season, analysts expect Apple to have a record-breaking fall quarter. In fact, Apple is expected to move 10 million units off of store shelves within its first week alone. The iPhone 5 didn't even have to wait until its release to break iPhone 4S sales records, with pre-orders stacking up at double the rate of the older device. Apple's stock has already surpassed $700.
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Overall, the iPhone has received praise from critics. CNET says that "the iPhone 5 adds everything we wanted in the iPhone 4S: 4G LTE, a longer, larger screen, and a faster A6 processor. Plus, its top-to-bottom redesign is sharp, slim, and feather-light."
Engadget dubbs the device "without a doubt the best iPhone yet," going as far as to say it is "a hallmark in design."
However, Apple has received considerable criticism for its replacement of the 30-pin connector with the Lightning connector, and their decision to remove Google Maps in favor of their own proprietary Map app.
The New York Times praised Lightning as being "the very model of a modern major connector," but notes that "you could easily pay $150 in adapters for a $200 phone. That's not just a slap in the face to loyal customers-it's a jab in the eye."
The Telegraph asserted that the Map app is simply broken. "One location I found is something a florist and at other times a cafe. Occasionally both appear on the map together. Even when they appear, neither one is in its correct location...As it is, it's disappointing and makes it impossible to recommend Apple Maps for finding local services."
Without a contract, the iPhone 5 16GB is priced at $649, the 32GB at $749, and the 64GB at $849. Subsidized by carriers, the price drops to $199.99, $299.99, and $399.99 for the respective sizes. On eBay, iPhone 5's are selling for upwards of $1000.
In terms of data plans, Verizon costs $40 to $150 per month, AT&T will range from $100 to $245 a month, Sprint will offer unlimited data for new subscribers, and Cricket will likely provide pre-paid service for $55 a month.