(NBC) - Anticipation gave way to the arrival Friday as Apple's iPhone 5 officially hit stores in the U.S. and several other countries around the world.
For Apple fanatics in New York City, there was no missing iPhone 5's debut.
"It's tradition for me. Every year, I get the new one," said Ricky Smith.
It turned a simple act of making a purchase into a jubilant celebration worthy of a sports championship.
Hundreds shared that sentiment in Japan, Hong Kong and six other countries where iPhone5's launch drew crowds.
The new phone is thinner, lighter and has a larger screen.
It also has a quicker processor and access to faster 4G networks.
But Google's popular Map app is gone in favor of one Apple created, a move that's drawn early criticism.
And even if iPhone5 lacks the revolutionary new feature that wows buyers, it still had a record two million presale units in 24 hours.
Some analysts expect eight to ten million more devices to sell this weekend.