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Shut out on iPhone 6 Plus, buyers settle for smaller version

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 22, 2014
Apple fans who stood in line for hours in hopes of buying the 5.5-in. iPhone 6 Plus were disappointed -- even perturbed -- to find none in stock at both the AT&T and Verizon stories in this college town west of Washington D.C.

Sean Cochran, a student at nearby James Madison University, wanted an iPhone 6 at AT&T mainly to join a less-expensive Next service plan than the plan he had on his iPhone 5S.

The increase in screen size didn't matter to him. "The iPhone 6 and the Plus are too big," he said. "Four inches is the perfect size."

Buyers seemed divided on the value of having NFC in the new iPhones for quick in-store purchases. Cochran, an intelligence analysis major, said he worries about security with a mobile wallet. "I don't trust the cloud, period," he said. "I'm not putting any personal information there."

Pradeep Kini, a software engineer, said he is "huge on NFC" in the iPhone. "I was upset that Apple didn't have it in the last version. I think Apple's NFC will be more secure than what we have now."

Sarco said he also isn't worried about NFC and mobile payments with Apple, and probably would use his phone for in-store and online purchases. "NFC and mobile wallet is important when Apple does it and it's not important when Android does it," he added, referring to Google Wallet, which hasn't gained nearly the popularity that Google and analysts expected.

Sarco admitted to being a huge Apple fan, and claimed to have stood in line to buy a new iPhone each time a new version was offered. "I've been to Apple stores in other cities and all over," he said. He had been an AT&T customer until buying his new iPhone 6 at Verizon, but said he switched for "logistical reasons," and not because of any problems with AT&T.

As a runner, he said he's eager to try out more fitness apps with the iPhone 6. "I run now with the iPhone 5S in my pocket, but I might have to find another way to carry it," he said, gesturing he might use an armband.

Most of the customers in both lines appreciated a larger iPhone, in either version, and increased size seemed to drive most purchases. "I'm excited about the size of the Plus, and I'm tired of looking at a smaller screen," said Tess Layer, an English major at JMU who arrived at 8 a.m. in hopes of buying the larger version. "I'd prefer the larger one. I didn't know they didn't have it until I got here."


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