HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Long lines formed for days outside of Apple stores in major cities to buy the iPhone 5 today, but smaller crowds also gathered in college towns like Harrisonburg, Va., where the longest wait was overnight in front of the AT&T and Verizon Wireless stores.
"I wouldn't wait all week outside Apple's store in New York City. It's not worth it. I have to go to work," said Bryan Moore, the first in line at a Verizon store here.
Moore arrived about 11 p.m. ET Thursday to get his new iPhone 5, but was able to sleep in his car, which he parked nearby overnight, and could still hold his spot. By the time doors opened at 8 a.m., there were 22 people in line.
Across the street, AT&T had 21 people in line when its store opened at the same time. Sprint is also selling the iPhone 5 today, but not apparently at the nearby local store, where no line had formed at 8 a.m. and the lights were off.
Moore bought a 32GB white model of the iPhone 5, an upgrade from his iPhone 4. He will pay for 2GB of data service a month under a Verizon Share Everything plan, which gives him free voice and text. Moving to the new plan means he will have to give up an older unlimited data plan, but he said he's willing to do so to get the iPhone 5.
Asked which features impressed him most about the new device, Moore said he wants "all of it" in the new device, meaning a faster processor and larger screen as well as access to a speedier LTE network, among other features. Moore, who said he works in retail, wants to eventually become an Apple tech. "I keep my entire life on my phone," he said.
He's also eager to try out the latest improvements to Siri, the Apple voice assistant that can be used for map navigation in the new iOS 6.
Five customers waiting in lines said in interviews that they didn't care that the iPhone 5 has no NFC chip for use with Apple's iOS 6 Passbook feature for transmitting data for tickets or boarding passes. Passbook relies on transmitting via barcodes on the iPhone 5's display, which are read by optical scanners at a payment terminal or boarding gate.
Experts have said Apple could miss out on developments with mobile wallet technology by not including an NFC chip in the iPhone 5, as its competitors have done, but others said Apple's decision is sufficient.
Apparently, these customers agreed with Apple's approach on Passbook.
Moore and Wendy Kern, who was second in line at the Verizon store arriving at 4:45 a.m., said they would never put private credit card information on a phone for a mobile wallet because they don't trust the security, even on an iPhone.