Maps Issues Aside, Apple Stores Still Draw Big Crowds as iPhone 5 Goes On Sale

After months and months of rumors, followed by an official announcement and a little over a week of waiting, Apple's much heralded iPhone 5 is finally here. Depending on where you live, however, don't expect to leisurely trot on down to your neighborhood Apple store and walk away with a new generation iPhone model. Those who wanted one badly enough on day of release (today) camped out in long lines.

As Samsung has pointed out in humorous ads mocking the Apple faithful, this has become an annual ritual, or bi-annual if you factor in the iPad. Each new iPhone release seems to bring with it a larger fan base, and the iPhone 5 will undoubtedly set a record for first day sales. It's already done so in pre-order sales, notching 10 million pre-orders during the first 24 hours, which is twice as many as the iPhone 4S when it debuted last year.

iPhone 5 Line
Image Source: Flickr (blakespot)

Some analysts estimate that Apple could sell as many as 10 million iPhones this weekend. You can bet Apple keeps an especially close eye on the number, as iPhone sales account for around 66 percent of the company's profit.

Keeping up with the rabid demand is another story. Availability of pre-orders placed online have already been pushed to 3-4 weeks, and there's been talk that Sharp is having a tough time producing displays at a fast enough rate to satiate demand.

Did you pick up an iPhone 5 today? If so, tell us about your experience. And if not, tell us why.