ROCKAWAY, N.J.—By 9:45 a.m., about 100 customers already were lined up near the Apple Store at the Townsquare Mall here, all hoping to purchase a new iPhone 3G which goes on sale today for $199. The line blocked several other stores and wrapped around a nearby perfume kiosk.
|Many customers who already own an Apple iPhone enthusiastically wait in line for the new model.|
The buying process takes at least 15-20 minutes per phone and there’s plenty of inventory on hand, said David Steinruck, store manager. Then the line grew longer by another few dozen when stock ran out at an AT&T store upstairs. Most customers in queue were 30 to 50 years old and several were using their current iPhones and laptops to stay in touch with their jobs through various Wi-Fi networks in the mall.
Approaching the long line, and talking on her first-generation iPhone, customer Raquel Hodge said she expected to wait and did not mind. Last year, her family paid $400 in termination fees to escape their old contracts using Motorola RAZRs. “My husband and I had to have it,” she said. “We don’t care because it’s for the convenience.”
Another customer, Stephen Stetler, already downloaded the new iPhone firmware but still wanted the new hardware for its high-speed networking. He said waiting in line with fellow Apple enthusiasts is fun. “As long as it takes. I can come here tomorrow and probably walk in and walk out. But it’s the experience,” he said.
“It’s not to me a godsend of a product,” said Rod Gammon, who stood in front of Stetler in the ever-growing line. Gammon’s view of the iPhone 3G is more pragmatic. Its features save him 30 minutes each day because he can work while commuting to Manhattan. To get all of the iPhone’s features on other phones would probably cost more, he said.