iPhone 5 Frenzy: 10 Scenes From The Boston Launch2:55 PM EST Fri. Sep. 21, 2012
The iPhone 5 hit U.S. shelves Friday, drawing massive crowds of eager fans to Apple retail locations nationwide. Apple's Boston-based storefront proved to be no exception, with hundreds of sleepy-eyed shoppers forming a line that stretched down Boylston Street and beyond.
Here are 10 scenes from the launch, and a glimpse into Beantown's love for Apple's latest and greatest invention.
Apple fans started to flock to the Boylston Street store as early as Wednesday, staking their claims in a line that spanned nearly three blocks by the time the launch kicked off at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Apple's Boston storefront was the largest Apple retail store in the U.S. when it opened on May 15, 2008. It's since been stripped of that title, but is still the second largest after New York City's storefront in Grand Central Terminal.
Eager iPhone-buyers chatted in line, waiting for the store doors to open. Many had become friendly with the fellow Apple fans around them, looking for a conversation to help pass the time. A few groups were chatting about which versions of the iPhone 5 they hoped to snatch up once inside.
This savvy group of shoppers didn't want to run the risk of waiting in line for hours, only to get inside the store and realize that coveted stock of smartphones had sold out. Instead, they got to Bolyston Street bright and early -- 1 a.m., to be exact -- and were handed cards by Apple employees that guaranteed them a phone. Each card specified the version they had claimed -- 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB -- along with the color.
Miguel Cua (pictured far left) said he had "just hopped on the Apple bandwagon," and that the iPhone 5 would be his first Apple smartphone. He decided to give it a go after recently buying an iPad, and loving the user experience.
Pratik Pai (middle) and Kaushal Shah also started waiting in line at 1 a.m. to make sure they got the exact iPhone 5 model and color they wanted.
These Apple fans were nestled in toward the end of the line (despite having arrived at the still-wee hour of 5 a.m.), so didn't have the security of those little white cards.
Still, MIT student Ian Jacobi (pictured left) was confident he and his line-buddy Jason Hawkins (right) would be able to grab a new iPhone 5. He was a seasoned pro, having prevailed in this waiting game before for a new iPad.
Jacobi, who helped develop an iPhone app for MIT's WMBR radio station, said he was looking forward to the bigger 5-inch display on the iPhone 5, as it will provide more screen real estate for his apps.
Apple wasn't the only one reeling in some business Friday morning.
iPhone fan Brett Andler came to Boylston Street with a business plan, selling his twenty-first spot in line to a fellow shopper for a not-so-shabby $460. The price of the spot included one of those coveted white cards that guaranteed Andler's customer a 32GB iPhone 5, which sells at a retail price of $299.
When asked if he was going to buy an iPhone 5 himself, Andler smiled and said: "Yeah, but I can wait three weeks."
This group of iPhone-buyers got to Boylston Street at 7 p.m. Thursday night in anticipation of Friday's launch. Sleeping bags in tow, the group of four said they actually managed to get some sleep, and certainly seemed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Friday morning, when the door were finally about to open.
Pictured from left to right are Apple fans Rob LaQuaglia, Mike Dounis, Ana Florea, and Melissa Afable.
Dounis is making the switch from an Android phone, while Florea said she had had the iPhone 3G for nearly three years, and was ready for an update.
Around 7:55 a.m., Apple store employees starting filtering down the large, spiral staircase in the center of the store. All were clapping, cheering, and pumping themselves up in preparation for the sea of customers about to barge through their doors.
For the increasingly antsy shoppers outside, this was music to their ears.
The doors opened promptly at 8 a.m., with security guards getting ready to man the lines, and a Boston police offer parked across the street.
Avoiding the chaos of a free-for-all, Apple had customers enter the store in small groups. Upon their arrival, each shopper was greeted and led upstairs by his or her own Apple employee, where the shopping would finally ensue.
Employees greeted each customer with a smile and a handshake, before leading them through a maze of MacBooks and up the stairs.
Apple employees wouldn't disclose the size of their iPhone 5 inventory, but if the new phone sells as quickly as it did when it became available for pre-order last week, the numbers could get tight.
The new iPhone 5 sold out within the first hour it became available online last Friday, squashing the 20-hour record held by its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. It's safe to assume that consumers are dying to get their hands on the new device, and eager to experiment with its new iOS 6 software, larger screen size, and faster A6 processor.
The new iPhone 5 is available in a 16GB model for $199, a 32GB model for $299, and a 64GB model for $399. It comes in black or white.