(NBC News) - The much anticipated iPhone 5 hits stores in the U.S. and eight other countries around the
Excitement over the apple device generated more than 2 million pre-sale online orders last week--
That's just the start of what's expected to be a huge launch.
The scene outside Chicago's Michigan Avenue Apple store was a familiar scene, crowded with campers.
The sidewalk vigil, there since Tuesday, comes as Apple fans wait for iPhone 5.
"Last year, I was number one for the iPhone 4S, so these guys at Apple are kind of expecting me to be number one again," says Julian Diggs.
Most tech observers expect iPhone 5 to be number one, possibly the largest consumer electronics launch ever.
"Top to bottom, this has been retuned and redesigned, and I think it's worth taking a look at because that attention to detail is very impressive," says CNET.com senior editor Scott Stein.
iPhone 5's debut comes as rival Samsung trumpets global sales of 20 million units for its Galaxy S3 Android phone.
The company took out major print ads this week comparing the two devices.
"When you say 20 million Galaxy Phones for Samsung, if Apple did that, it would a disaster for Apple," notes Business Insider senior editor Jay Yarow
In fact, some analysts forecast worldwide iPhone 5 sales of 50 million units by year's end.
While reviews of the new device's bigger screen, lighter weight and faster processor have been
mostly positive, some were left waiting for the company's first revolutionary leap since the passing of Steve Jobs.
The rivalry between Apple and Samsung ramped up a bit more yesterday.
Samsung added the iPhone 5 to its existing patent lawsuits against Apple.
The companies have legal action going against each other in ten countries.
Last month a U.S. jury ruled that Samsung copied features from the iPhone and awarded Apple more than a billion dollars in damages.
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