Apple Computer has opened an Apple Store in Sydney, its first in the southern hemisphere.

More than 1,000 people braved the winter rain to attend the opening on Thursday night at the store's premises in the city's George Street.

Some had slept overnight outside the A$15 million ($14.24 million) store, others had taken the 90-minute flight from Melbourne, including a couple with two young children. Gary Allen, who writes a blog about Apple Stores and attended 30 store openings, journeyed from Berkeley, California.

But tempers flared as police forcibly moved accredited media from the doors. "It was the worst-managed opening of any of the global flagship Apple stores, to the point of embarrassment of the Apple brand," reported Robert Stockdill, publisher and group editor of the Inside Retailing Web site.

Others disagreed. "There's a real energy here tonight," said a mother and daughter team who'd arrived from a two-hour drive from the coast, hoping that the store might sneakily sell the iPhone which is due in stores next month. The outlet will begin hosting exclusive iTunes live music sets from July 3.

Apple plans to open two more flagship stores in Australia later this year - one in the Sydney suburb of Chatswood, the other in Chadstone, Melbourne.