Life at the front of the iPhone 5s queue

The closer to the front of the queue you are, the higher your rank

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The Independent Online

There have been arguments, banter that's gone way too far and a hell of a lot of cameras. The press are never-ending and the prospects of meeting interesting people are seriously elevated.

As a journalist, even I don't think I've met as many fellow reporters in a 24 hour period as I have today. Christ, the Mirror are running a live blog on the queue - only in England, eh?

Yes, I've spent the past 16 hours camped outside the Apple store on Regent Street. Why? In the name of journalism, to some degree, but the people-watching, the camaraderie and the odd bottle of beer have been worth it.

Tonight, we'll celebrate iPhone 5s-eve (we have cigars, no really). It sounds strange, of course, and once the feeling of being too cool to do this wore off, it was fun.

I haven't been publicly ridiculed to this degree since year eight, but the great thing about it is thus: nobody here cares.

But to think that these young men camp here for the sole reason to get their hands on a new Apple product is a little outdated. These men have money in mind.

A kind of democracy has been instilled and it is, indeed, a first-past-the-post system in the most literal sense. The closer to the front of the queue you are, the higher your rank and, therefore, the more shots you call.

Noah Green, 17, whose face has been plastered all over national newspapers over the past few days, tells me that there are people prepared to pay to have what he's got. He started camping on Monday afternoon and is first in the queue - a prestigious accolade… apparently.

Noah claims that, in previous years, people have paid thousands of pounds to be the first person in the queue. Of course, in this scenario, you wouldn't get an iPhone. You would, however, walk out a much richer man.

Last night, over a few doughnuts from Greggs, he told me the story of a man who was apparently paid £8,000 to be the first person in the iPad 2 queue. And that, he says, is his bar: £8,000.

It has also been alleged that Mike Roberts (currently second in the queue) was offered £7,000 for his place just two days ago.

For me (a lowly sixth in the queue), however, I'm up for offers and will gladly go home for a hot shower at any time. Don't rush all at once.