Apple's new iPhone 5 has been released across Europe, Asia and the Americas, with dedicated fans queueing for hours to get their hands on the coveted gadget.

Despite lukewarm reviews and criticism of its Map application, Apple fans slept overnight outside shops to be the first to buy the iPhone 5 on Friday.

Analysts predict that Apple will sell up to 10 million of the new model in just this month.

The new smartphone boasts a larger screen and is lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S.

According to Apple, it has a stronger battery and operates on 4G LTE for faster downloads and data consumption.

Australians were the first to get their hands on the device.

Faithful fans in Sydney filmed the experience on their iPhones and iPads as staff at the Apple store clapped and cheered when doors opened in the early hours.

The phone's first roll out is in nine countries, with Apple planning to sell it out in 100 countries by the end of the year.

Apple shares rose to new record highs, gaining 0.8 percent to $704.67, boosting the market cap of the world's most valuable company to nearly $660 billion.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies