Apple fans line up for new phone

Toledo store resupplied after selling out of devices

9/21/2013
BLADE STAFF AND NEWS REPORTS

NEW YORK — Apple Inc. attracted long lines of shoppers Friday for the global debut of its latest iPhones.

Apple sales associates talk with customers waiting in line for new iPhones during the first day they were released on Friday at an Apple store in Richmond, Va.
Apple sales associates talk with customers waiting in line for new iPhones during the first day they were released on Friday at an Apple store in Richmond, Va.

In New York, customers lined up around the block to get into Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store, while in Munich about 2,000 gathered to buy the new iPhone 5s and 5c, and in London the waiting crowd stretched about a mile.

“I started lining up five days ago,” said Sachihisa Saishiki, a 45-year-old who camped outside the Tokyo store.

Opening-weekend sales are crucial to boosting Apple after almost a year without releasing a new device and ceding market share to rivals in the $280 billion smartphone market.

Apple is projected to sell 6 million new iPhones over its three-day opening weekend, according to Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray. The company typically doesn’t comment on sales figures until the Monday after a debut.

In Toledo, a spokesman at the Best Buy store at 4505 Monroe St. said the store opened two hours early at 8 a.m. and had about 10 people waiting to get inside to purchase the new iPhones. Then at 10 a.m., when most customers expected the store to open, a steady stream of patrons arrived, causing the store to run out of the new phones.

The spokesman said the store received a second shipment of phones at midafternoon, and sales of the cell phone remained strong throughout the day.

Further up the street at 5215 Monroe at Cellular Central Inc., a Verizon Wireless dealer, a sales clerk said there were about 15 people waiting to purchase iPhones when the store opened at 9 a.m.

Customers continued to stream into the store all morning, the clerk said.

At an Apple store in Pasadena, Calif., an overnight campout for the new iPhone turned chaotic Friday morning when two men were arrested for fighting and another man’s plan to hire homeless people to wait in line for the devices backfired, authorities said.

Dozens of people recruited at a downtown Los Angeles homeless shelter to buy iPhones in bulk at a Pasadena store were left unpaid, and they mobbed the man who had hired them, police said.

He was escorted away by police for his protection, authorities said.