In Manchester, we took a quick run around the city centre ten minutes before many shops were due to open to find out what demand was like.
O2 Stores saw huge demand, with around 120 people outside each of the branches we checked. O2 staff were handing out newspapers to those in line. Only a handful of people were waiting outside Carphone Warehouse stores (around 10 per branch).
We saw no-one at all waiting outside any of the other networks’ stores. Whether this was down to them having resvered stock only, we’re not sure.
It was unsurprisingly the Apple store that saw the highest demand. Around 60 people were queuing in the line for preorders, while the line for people chancing their arm at picking up an unreserved handset numbered… well, we lost count. Take a look at our shaky-cam video below to work it out for yourselves. Where the line starts facing the camera is where the preorders start.
Elsewhere in the UK, demand is reported to be high. The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, for example, reports 100 queuing outside an O2 store in Cardiff and 40 outside a store in Farnborough.
UPDATE: @susiweaser reports that the Carphone Warehouse store she visited had just six handsets in stock. This is likely to be repeated elsewhere; in previous years first day stocks at Carphone Warehouse stores were low.