People line up in Las Vegas to nab new Apple iPhone 5
Fri, Sep 21, 2012 (11:04 a.m.)
Photo: Conor Shine
Phillip Nye spent 19 hours camped out in front of an AT&T Wireless store in Summerlin for the chance to purchase a new iPhone 5 when it was released to the public at 8 a.m. today.
But after waiting since 1 p.m. Thursday and claiming first place in a line that would grow to 50 people shortly before 8 a.m. today, Nye didn’t even buy a phone.
“I was holding a place in line for a friend,” said Nye, who was paid a few hundred dollars to camp out at the store overnight. “He’s very superstitious. He feels good knowing he got the first one from the store.”
Apple-mania swept the valley and the country this morning, as customers jockeyed for the chance to be among the first people to get their hands on the new iPhone 5.
After months of rumors and speculation, Apple’s latest smartphone — which features a larger screen and thinner body — was announced on Sept. 12. The phone ranges in price from $199.99 to $399.99, depending on the model.
AT&T director of sales Robert Williams said he’s been at the Summerlin store for each iPhone launch over the last six years. Every year, there has been a line, he said, and every year the store has sold out of its initial inventory on the first day.
“It’s amazing...Apple does a good job handling the media and PR to help build up anticipation,” Williams said. “We sell out every year, and I don’t expect this to be any different.”
The Summerlin AT&T store had 30 employees on hand for today’s 8 a.m. launch, and many of the staff members seemed just as excited as the customers as they anxiously checked their watches and prepared for the rush of people.
Williams said he thinks customers will appreciate the iPhone 5’s new LTE cellular connection, which allows users to surf and download content from the Internet faster than with previous models.
Anne-Marie Raskin arrived about 7:45 a.m. to claim her spot in line. She said she’d done some reconnaissance at the store the night before, including buying a phone case and talking with the manager about what kind of turnout was expected.
“The cases always sell out first,” said Raskin, who was buying the phone as a birthday gift for her husband.
She said the line Friday was shorter than for last year’s launch of the iPhone 4S, something she attributed to strong marketing of online pre-sales for the new phone.