This morning, Apple stores across France opened as scheduled at 8AM to lines around the block. Here in Paris, about 30 former Apple employees stood outside the entrance to the Opera Apple store, one of two in the city, with signs and chants including “Apple, the unemployed are in the streets.” While representatives from the national union SUD hoped and planned to use the release of the iPhone5 as an opportunity to call attention to unfair work hours, ‘inhumane’ work conditions, and other problems that SUD has been negotiating with Apple over for a year, it seems that those waiting in line were undeterred by the potential human rights infractions of their iPhone creator.
The iPhone 5 release in France has been a bit diminished in terms of hype by the revelation in previous weeks that, while iPhone buyers will have access to the latest hardware, there are no mobile operators in France who have a 4G network compatiable with the iPhone 5’s 1800Mhz frequency. The only carrier who has announced plans to have a 1800Mhz 4G network is Bouygues, who is currently petitioning to convert it’s old 2G network to a 4G network. The tentative preparation date for the 4G network would be before the end of 2012.