RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
All over the world, people waited in line — some for days— to buy the new iPhone 5 on Friday. In Portsmouth, a modest but devoted line of customers waited outside the AT&T store on Gallia Street for eight hours to be the first inside when they opened their doors.
The iPhone 5 is the latest model of Apple’s bestselling smartphone. First introduced in 2007, there have been five new models released in as many years. The latest iPhone is thinner, lighter, and has a taller screen and faster processor than last year’s model (iPhone 4S), with updated software and it can work on faster “fourth generation” mobile networks.
Apple unveiled the new phone on Sept. 12 and began taking pre-orders on Sept. 14. Within one day, pre-orders topped 2 million units. Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.
The company released its iOS6 operating system on Wednesday this week as a free download to users of the existing iPhone, iPod and iPad, and the new phone (with iOS6 pre-loaded) was available to customers on Friday. At the AT&T store on Gallia Street in Portsmouth, assistant manager Lee Simmons expected high demand for the phone’s launch.
“People are very excited. Anytime a new iPhone comes out, it generates excitement because of the fact that it is an iPhone. People almost use it as a status symbol. You want to have the newest, you want to have the best. We’ve had people come in and pay full price for the phone (without the contract), sometimes $600 0r $700,” he said.
Simmons said historically there have been as many as 100 people standing in line waiting for the new iPhone when they open their door, and he expected similar showing on Friday. The line outside the store at 8 a.m. on Friday was much shorter than he anticipated — only about 20 people — but no less eager to get inside.
First in line was Paul Gifford of Portsmouth, who spent his 39th birthday on Friday waiting eight hours for the doors to open. He already had the iPhone 4 and called the new phone a birthday present to himself.
“I’ve had a good time in line,” he said.
Behind Gifford, Chris Slusher of Wheelersburg had been standing in line since 4 a.m. He said he was looking forward to the iPhone 5 for its faster network, A6 quad-core chip, and the bigger screen.
“I was looking forward to a lot bigger screen than what it is now, but 4-inches is good enough. Better than nothing,” he said.
The handset has become a hot seller despite initial lukewarm reviews and new map software that is glitch prone. One of the biggest complaints about the new iPhone so far is its new 8-pin lightning connector, which replaces the traditional 30-pin connector found on every iPhone, iPod and iPad in the past. With so many peripheral devices — speakers, charging docks, stereos, etc. — designed to connect with Apple’s family of products, the new, smaller connector will no longer fit those products. An adapter is expected to be available, but it will cost extra.
In addition to AT&T, the iPhone 5 is also available on Verizon and Sprint networks.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Associated Press contributed to this article.