Eager buyers formed long lines Friday at Apple Inc. stores in Asia, Europe and North America to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone
The line was over 100 people long when sales began at the Walden Galleria's Apple store beginning at 8 am. The earliest person in line had arrived at about 11 pm the night before, and as they passed out tickets allowing each to purchse two phones, Apple employees were warning that some models under some carriers were not in stock. (See Right)
Campers were also at area Verizon and AT&T outlets. At an AT&T store on Niagara Falls Boulevard the lines were far smaller, but phone fans no less excited. The earliest person in that line arrived near 3 pm yesterday evening.
Barely a full block away, campers were also at a Verizon outlet in Tonawanda, where the first ones arrived just beore 11 pm Thursday.
7:30 am, Walden Galleria Apple Store (WBEN Photo)
|The first person in line at the Apple Store in the Walden Galleria arrived near 11 pm the night before. (WBEN Photo)|
|Galleria management was apparently expecting far longer lines, with signs like this that urged all Iphone customers to use the specfic entrance near the Theatres (WBEN Photo)|
Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.
Apple's stock closed above $700 for the first time on Tuesday, the day after it announced that orders for its iPhone 5 topped 2 million in the first 24 hours.
Apple started taking orders for the iPhone 5 at 3 a.m. EDT Friday. Orders during the first 24 hours more than doubled what Apple had for its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, over the same period last October.
"This was despite somewhat lukewarm reviews and some claiming it had `lack of a wow factor,' Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said in a note to investors.
"We continue to believe many underestimate iPhone 5 in that it is a significant update and will drive a powerful product cycle," he wrote.
Wu estimates that Apple will likely ship 27 million iPhones in the current quarter. That's up from his earlier estimate of 26 million.
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The handset has become a hot seller despite initial lukewarm reviews and new map software that is glitch prone.
Apple said on Monday that while most orders will be delivered this Friday, when the phone goes on sale in stores in the U.S. and eight other countries, demand for the iPhone 5 exceeds the initial supply. That means some of the devices will be delivered in October.
Buyers who have a two-year service agreement with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon Wireless are able to order the phone for $199 (16 gigabyte model), $299 (32 GB) or $399 (64 GB).
The iPhone 5 represents the first major revision of the iPhone's screen size since the first model was introduced in 2007.
The new iPhone has an elongated screen, at 4 inches measured diagonally. That allows room for another row of icons and lets widescreen movies fit better.
Earlier models had 3.5-inch screens. The new phone is also thinner and weighs less than previous versions. It can operate on LTE cellular networks and sports a new processor and updated software.