A crowd of about 20 people, some with lawn chairs, laptops, video games, and drawing pads, gathered outside the AT&T store on Continental Avenue in Forest Hills on Friday afternoon in anticipation of the release of Apple’s new iPhone.
The four men at the head of the line had clocked in about 12 hours of wait time by 3 p.m., just three hours before the scheduled launch at 6 p.m.
“I’m just in it for the money,” said Christopher Sinnott, 20, from Ridgewood. He planned to sell his iPhone on eBay. His friend Karl Emmanuel, from Forest Hills, took the day off from work to wait on line. Emmanuel firmly marked his place at the head of the line with a lawn chair, where he sat sketching all afternoon. He said he was waiting in line to buy an iPhone as a favor for a friend. “I’m not bored,” he said reassuringly.
The next two in line, Russ Yusupov and Avi Flombaum, both 23 and from Manhattan, came to the AT&T store in Queens expecting shorter lines. They were right. Both were buying iPhones for themselves, but Flombaum said if worst comes to worst, he’ll sell his on eBay.
“I like getting gadgets,” he said. Yusupov, originally from Queens, said he’s a loyal Apple fan. He even brought his laptop along for the wait. “They make amazing products,” he said. “They’re re-inventing the phone.” He said he plans to use his for everything from e-mailing and surfing the Web to texting and listening to music on the subway.
Many waiting in line expressed a general interest in technology. Others were in it for the thrill of being the first of their friends to get an iPhone.
But others were less excited heading into the launch. When asked over the phone whether the store would remain open for extended hours that weekend, a store employee responded, “I hope not.”
The store in Forest Hills would not reveal how many iPhones it had in stock for the launch, but given the advance planning that was in place for the gadget’s release, most of those waiting outside were confident that their wait would have a positive result. Most guesses as to just how many iPhones were in stock ranged from 30 to 500. Purchases were limited to one per customer.
If the early reports are any indication, the hype surrounding the iPhone’s debut may have been well-placed, as industry analysts at press time were reporting that Apple sold about 500,000 iPhones in the product’s opening weekend, delivering an estimated $275 million in sales.