iPhone diehards show up in droves for latest release

June 24, 2010 7:43:16 PM PDT
Stores across the country and around the world are selling out of the new apple iPhone. Thursday's launch of the iPhone 4 drew huge lines outside the San Francisco Apple store at Union Square, despite early reports of problems with the screen and the antenna.

The iPhone 4 debuted to consumers Thursday in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The first look at the new iPhone came back in April when tech blog Gizmodo got hold of a prototype left in a Redwood City bar; that added to the intrigue.

Doors at Apple stores nationwide opened at 7 a.m. sharp to debut the fourth generation iPhone. The demand so intense, hundreds braved the overnight chilly weather in San Francisco.

"I'm like way excited for this one," said customer Kristen Pasating. "I couldn't even sleep out here I wanted to get this one so bad."

Along the city blocks some even waited it out on inflatable couches. In Palo Alto, others passed the time on their iPads. One person even used a pillow to pad his head, resting against the store's concrete wall.

Tech fanatics came out in droves.

"I'm like an iPhone veteran. I remember waiting in line for close to 13 hours for the original iPhone," said customer Rey Guiterrez. "Anything that Apple puts out, as long as Steve Jobs says, 'Yes, let's make it,' then I will follow."

Industry analysts say the iPhone 4 is on track to be one of the best-selling mobile phones; more than 600,000 customers had already made opening day pre-orders for it.

Some, like Dale Larson, made extraordinary arrangements to get one.

"I had lunch on the beach in Belize and then jumped on a speedboat to a small Cessna, to a couple of Boeings, to get to San Francisco in time to join the line last night," said Larson. "Friends were camping in line to hold my place for me because they didn't want me to have to cut my honeymoon short in order to get the iPhone 4."

The iPhone 4 offers a big hardware upgrade from its previous models. This one includes a higher resolution screen, five megapixel camera, high definition video, a front-facing camera for face to face communication, and multi-tasking options, in addition to the 200,000 apps Apple has.

"I've had the iPhone before and as soon as this one was coming out I was all up on it," said customer Jill Flewitt.

"If you're really looking for niche markets or aspects of technology for humans to catch up with, this is the phone," said customer Danny Kim.

The last iPhone, the 3GS, sold more than a million phones the first three days it was on sale. Analysts estimate sales for 2010 will top 40 million devices.

The iPhone 4's 16 GB version sells for $199 and the 32 GB version for $299 with a two-year AT&T contract. Those wanting the white version will have to wait; they're not available until late next month because of manufacturing challenges.

Also, there have been some scattered reports of reception issues when you touch the outside antenna band in two places. However, no customers ABC7 spoke with Thursday morning had reported any problems with the antenna.

iPhone deals

Radioshack stores are trying to entice customers with a special offer -- turn in your old iPhone and you could get up to $200 toward your new iPhone 4.

Companies needing phones are also willing to pay you for your old phones. USA Today reports high tech companies Nextworth and Gazelle will pay up to $100 for iPhone 3G models in good shape, and up to $200 for the 3 GS models. Since the new 16 GB iPhone 4 costs $199 with a two-year contract, selling your old phone almost pays for your new one.


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