Amid Maps flap, worldwide iPhone 5 launch rolls on

iPhone 5 Lightning dock connector

While Tim Cook was busy apologizing to customers for releasing a sub-par Maps app, the iPhone 5 launched continued in 22 new countries Friday morning.

Apple’s most important product this year, the new iPhone 5, is drawing lines of buyers, as videos posted to YouTube show. AppleInsider has gathered videos from launches in New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Poland and Spain, which look like you’d expect an Apple launch would: customers queued outside retailers in anticipation, Apple employees riling up the crowd, some waiting in the rain for the chance to be first to grab one of the new phones.

A screen grab from YouTube video outside iPhone 5 launch in Auckland, New Zealand shows a sizable crowd.

The iPhone 5 is now available in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. That joins the nine countries that got the device last Friday, bringing the launch to 31 countries in just one week — Apple’s fastest iPhone rollout yet.

It’s reminiscent of Antennagate in 2010 that the worldwide iPhone launch has been marred by bad press resulting from a product failure. And like the antenna problem of the iPhone 4, Apple has chosen to confront the problem by addressing it directly with customers, as Cook did Friday.

But are the complaints about Apple’s map failures actually having a negative impact on sales? That’s not clear yet. Apple sold 5 million iPhones last weekend, with sales beginning a day and a half after problems with Maps started leaking out. And in this fresh batch of countries Friday, after more than a week of carping by customers and even Apple’s competitors exploiting the weakness of Apple’s mapping data, customers are still lining up to buy the new phones.

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