Hey Hollywood, don’t be surprised if your staffers show up late or disappear longer for lunch today because they’re trying to score the new faster and sleeker and longer battery life iPhone 5. Lines from New York to Tokyo, San Francisco to Sydney (pictured) are reported outside Apple stores selling the bigger screen platform better for watching movies and TV and gaming. (But the new Maps system is said to be a bust…) Already huge crowds jammed stores in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. AP says the first customers in Hong Kong were greeted by employees cheering, clapping, high-fiving, and chanting “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door. The smartphone is also being launched in the U.S., Britain, Canada, France and Germany. It will go on sale in 22 more countries a week later. But some employees of Apple’s French stores voted to strike today, aiming for maximum impact by timing the walkout to coincide with the debut of the iPhone 5. The strike was called by one of the main unions representing workers at Apple’s stores in Paris and some other French cities after the breakdown of talks over working conditions. Demands by the SUD union, which represents about a quarter of Apple Store employees, included the installation of water fountains, providing meal vouchers, and paying a 13th month of salary as is common at French companies. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing iPhone 5’s release date. Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.
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