iPhone 5 launch draws Apple fans locally, worldwide

Joe Colaizzi, one of the first customers at the Apple store in Coconut Point, gets a thumbs up from an Apple employee as he leaves the store with his new iPhone 5. Colaizzi, 36, of Orlando, was in town for a work conference.

TRACY MIGUEL-NAVARRO / Naples Daily News

Joe Colaizzi, one of the first customers at the Apple store in Coconut Point, gets a thumbs up from an Apple employee as he leaves the store with his new iPhone 5. Colaizzi, 36, of Orlando, was in town for a work conference.

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Mike Thomas won’t have to use his wife’s phone any longer, but the Bonita Springs man will have to buy all the gadgets for the newest iPhone 5 model, which uses a different plug not compatible with older models.

Because he has about 50 accessories including chargers, Thomas, 28, said it’s an inconvenience that the newest model released to consumers Friday uses a different plug.

“It’s a pain, but whatever, it’s a business expense,” he said. “It’s quite a bit we go through for this stupid phone.”

Thomas will have to purchase additional dock connectors, or dock adapters.

Some accessories include Lightning to 30-pin adapter, $29; the Universal Serial Bus (USB) power adapter, $19; and the Lightning to USB cable, $19, according to the Apple website.

The USB cable is included when purchasing the iPhone 5.

Thomas, who was first in line Friday at Coconut Point mall in Estero, said he needed a new iPhone because he uses his phone to run a business. His phone was damaged, so he’s been using his wife’s since. He said he arrived at 11:30 p.m. Thursday at Coconut Point, but was turned away, so he came back at 5 a.m. and circled the parking lot.

Thomas initially preordered the new iPhone, but after he was told he wouldn’t get it until Oct. 5, he canceled his order and decided to wait in line to get it earlier.

Others don’t mind having to purchase dock adapters.

“I don’t care,” said Jack VanHouten, 25, after purchasing the new iPhone 5. “It doesn’t bother me.”

Despite a rainy Friday morning in Southwest Florida, hundreds of shoppers stood in line at 7 a.m. at the Apple store in Coconut Point and Waterside Shops in North Naples to purchase the new iPhone 5, which went on sale Friday.

Most die-hard fans said they like the thinner and lighter phone.

VanHouten, of Bonita Springs, who arrived at 3:30 a.m. Friday and waited in his car until people were permitted to line up at 7 a.m., said he likes the larger screen, better processing and the new Long Term Evolution on the new iPhone 5.

VanHouten, an Arthrex employee, requested permission to arrive to work late to be able to purchase his iPhone 5, which he uses for work.

Although some iPhone 5 shoppers weren’t thrilled about having to purchase new dock adapters, David Bryant was happy with his new phone.

“I’m fine because I know it’s a change for the better and progression that needs to happen,” said Bryant, 19, who camped outside the parking lot of Waterside Shops to upgrade his iPhone and purchased a 64GB model for $400.

The Ave Maria sophomore said later in the day that he hadn’t encountered any problems with the new iPhone 5 after purchasing it early Friday.

Like many, Bryant won’t have to buy a new car charger for his iPhone 5 because the new phone still uses a USB cable to plug into the car.

“I’m just excited to have it,” VanHouten said.

Despite a rainy morning, about 100 people stood in line at 7 a.m. at the Apple store in Coconut Point in an effort to purchase the new iPhone 5, which went on sale Friday.

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Apple store personnel even provided some of the waiting patrons with umbrellas as they queued up along a walkway at the regional mall. The store hired two Lee County Sheriff’s deputies to stand guard out front.

At about 7:45 a.m., about a dozen employees came out of the store cheering “iPhone 5, iPhone 5.” The first people in line were permitted to enter the store a few at a time beginning about 7:50 a.m.

People were not permitted to line up until 7 a.m., but that didn’t keep a few from circling the parking lot for hours. The earliest to arrive at the Estero store came at 2 a.m.

“I got excited when I got here at 2:30 a.m., but now that I’ve been waiting for five hours, I am not excited,” said Antonio Balducci, 20, of Miami. A student at Florida Gulf Coast University, Balducci said he has been waiting for the new phone since May.

Mike Thomas, 28, of Bonita Springs, was the first in line at Coconut Point. He said he arrived at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, but was turned away, so he came back at 5 a.m. Friday.

Thomas initially pre-ordered the new iPhone, but after he was told he wouldn’t get it until Oct. 5, he canceled his order and decided to wait in line to get it earlier. Thomas said he needed a new iPhone because he uses his phone to run a business, but his was damaged and he has been using his wife’s phone.

Because he has about 50 chargers and other accessories for the iPhone, Thomas said it was an inconvenience that the newest model uses a different plug not compatible with older models. He said he’ll have to purchase additional chargers.

“It’s a pain, but, whatever, it’s a business expense,” he said. “It’s quite a bit we go through for a stupid phone.”

Christina Henry, 20, of Fort Myers, got in line at 5:30 a.m. Henry planned to buy the iPhone 5 and perhaps give her older model to her mom, who waited in line with her.

“Mine is fine,” she said. “I just want it because it’s new.”

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iPhone 5 launch draws Apple fans worldwide

In a now familiar global ritual, Apple fans jammed shops from Sydney to Paris to pick up the tech juggernaut's latest iPhone.

Eager buyers formed long lines Friday at Apple Inc. stores in Asia, Europe and North America to be the first to get their hands on the latest version of the smartphone.

In London, some shoppers had camped out for a week in a queue that snaked around the block. In Hong Kong, the first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting "iPhone 5! iPhone 5!" and high-fiving them as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door.

The smartphone will be on sale in the U.S. and Canada hours after its launch in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain, France and Germany. It will launch in 22 more countries a week later. The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster "fourth generation" mobile networks.

The handset has become a hot seller despite initial lukewarm reviews and new map software that is glitch prone. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.

In a sign of the intense demand, police in Osaka, Japan, were investigating the theft of nearly 200 iPhones 5s, including 116 from one shop alone, Kyodo News reported. In London, police sought help finding a man wanted in connection with the theft of 252 iPhone 5s from a shop in Wimbledon early Friday morning.

Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.

Some fans went to extremes to be among the first buyers by arriving at Apple's flagship stores day ahead of the release.

In downtown Sydney, Todd Foot, 24, showed up three days early to nab the coveted first spot. He spent about 18 hours a day in a folding chair, catching a few hours' sleep each night in a tent on the sidewalk.

Foot's dedication was largely a marketing stunt, however. He writes product reviews for a technology website that will give away the phone after Foot reviews it.

"I just want to get the phone so I can feel it, compare it and put it on our website," he said while slumped in his chair.

In Paris, the phone launch was accompanied by a workers' protest — a couple dozen former and current Apple employees demonstrated peacefully to demand better work benefits. Some decried what they called Apple's transformation from an offbeat company into a multinational powerhouse.

But the protesters — urged by a small labor union to demonstrate at Apple stores around France — were far outnumbered by lines of would-be buyers on the sidewalk outside the store near the city's gilded opera house.

Not everyone lining up at the various Apple stores was an enthusiast, though. In Hong Kong, university student Kevin Wong, waiting to buy a black 16 gigabyte model for 5,588 Hong Kong dollars ($720), said he was getting one "for the cash." He planned to immediately resell it to one of the numerous grey market retailers catering to mainland Chinese buyers. China is one of Apple's fastest growing markets but a release date for the iPhone 5 there has not yet been set.

Wong was required to give his local identity card number when he signed up for his iPhone on Apple's website. The requirement prevents purchases by tourists including mainland Chinese, who have a reputation for scooping up high-end goods on trips to Hong Kong because there's no sales tax and because of the strength of China's currency. Even so, the mainlanders will probably buy it from the resellers "at a higher price — a way higher price," said Wong, who hoped to make a profit of HK$1,000 ($129).

A similar money-making strategy was being pursued in London, where many in the crowds — largely from the city's extensive Asian community — planned to either send the phones to family and friends back home as gifts or sell them in countries where they are much more expensive.

"It makes a really nice gift to family back home," said Muhammad Alum, 30, a minicab driver from Bangladesh. "It will be two or three weeks before there is a SIM card there that can work it, but it's coming soon."

Others who had waited overnight said the iPhones cost roughly twice as much in India as in Britain, making them very welcome as gifts.

Tokyo's glitzy downtown Ginza district not only had a long line in front of the Apple store, but another across the main intersection at Softbank, the first carrier in Japan to offer iPhones.

Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he's an Apple fan because it's an innovator.

"I love Apple," he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.

"It's only the iPhone for me."

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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