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iPhone 5s gold rush begins, as crowds line up for new phone

Joel Mathis and Caitlin McGarry | Sept. 23, 2013
Both the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s went on sale in 10 countries Friday, but it was the 5s -- and the gold-colored model -- that brought out the crowds to Apple Stores.

iPhone rush

There's nothing like an iPhone launch to bring out a crowd.

Apple's latest phones—the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s—hit retail shelves on Friday. And at Apple Stores in 10 countries around the world, people lined up in anticipation of doors opening at 8 a.m. local time so they could get their hands on the new models, just as they had for previous iPhone launches.

queue for iPhone
PHOTO: CAITLIN MCGARRY. Friday's iPhone launch brought the usual crowds to New York's Fifth Avenue Apple Store, but the fact the iPhone 5s wasn't available for preorder meant a larger turnout.

"Everyone is just crazy for the iPhone," said Artur Mardanov, who waited in line for 20 hours only to emerge from Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York with two iPhone 5s models.

iPhone fans had extra incentive to queue up this time around. Apple only began taking online orders for the iPhone 5s on Friday morning, so if you wanted one right away, you had to head out to a retail outlet selling the new phone. Besides Apple, the iPhone 5s went on sale from carriers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, as well as retailers Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target and RadioShack.

Software engineer Jose Marinez got up bright and early Friday morning to order his iPhone 5s online. But when he found out that his order wasn't expected to ship until October, he headed out to the Fifth Avenue store to stand in line. He had come prepared, though, with a comfortable chair.

"I'm a pro at this. I'm a total veteran," Marinez said. "I might as well be comfortable. I waited for the first one, the 3G, the 4, the 5, and now the 5s."

The iPhone 5s appeared to be the main draw for crowds at Apple Stores on Friday—after all, you could preorder the iPhone 5c a week ago. But people lining up for the 5s still had color on their minds; specifically, the gold-colored version of the new smartphone looked to be a popular choice among would-be shoppers. At the Apple Store on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, for example, store employees announced 38 minutes before the iPhone launch that all the tickets for 16GB gold phones had been given away to people in line. That news was greeted by audible grumbling from the rest of the crowd. Similarly, at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, Calif., gold iPhones ran out of stock after about 30 customers, while the Cambridgeside Galleria Apple Store in, Cambridge, Mass., ran out of old iPhones about 35 minutes into sales.


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