Apple’s iPhone 7 has been greeted by shorter queues than in previous years as customers turned to pre-orders and other methods to get their hands on one of the new smartphones.

About 100 fans – or people holding places in the queue in exchange for cash – braved wet weather to queue in front of Sydney’s flagship Apple store. (Apple found some umbrellas for those who came less-prepared).

Tiny queue outside the Sydney Apple store for #iPhone7. 2 years ago it stretched a couple of blocks. Go @ lunchtime to walk right in!

— Peter Vasey (@Peter_Vasey) September 15, 2016

A smaller queue was on hand opposite at the Telstra store.

In Melbourne, “hundreds” of smartphone buyers queued, according to news reports, though there was little chaos at retail opening time, and carriers had not sold out of their stock early.

In Brisbane CBD, the number of those queued for the device outside the Apple store was initially put at “about 100” before being revised back to a “handful”.

In Perth, about 30 people queued in front of the Hay Street Apple store, while similar numbers attended the Apple store at Garden City.

The increasing trend to pre-order Apple’s new smartphones is believed to be a key reason for the shrinking queue sizes, which were once the hallmark of new iPhone releases.

However, even pre-orders were not a guarantee of getting a device on launch day. Telstra admitted this week it took too many pre-orders, leaving many customers frustrated with phones listed as being on “backorder” or with extended ship dates.

Also left frustrated were iPhone 6s owners that had bought into a Telstra scheme called New Phone Feeling, which lets them get a new phone every year for $149 plus the cost of a new 24-month contract.

It’s been less than a year since Apple put the 6s on retail shelves, and as such 6s owners on Telstra’s scheme have a week-and-a-half to wait until they become eligible to upgrade to iPhone 7.

That led to complaints on Telstra’s official Crowdsupport forums as well as in other social media channels, as it became clear that Telstra would not allow early upgrades to fit with faster-than-expected Apple release dates.

In addition to pre-orders beginning earlier than usual this year, and a device release date less than a year since the last iPhone, the iPhone 7 itself may have contributed to lower excitement levels this time around.

Despite being considered a "major" release in Apple's product cycle, the new iPhone is considered a largely "safe" design with only minor tweaks on the features available in previous versions.

Information Age has summarised the most affordable entry points for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices here.