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New Yorkers camp out for iPhone despite summer heat

IPhone fever takes hold in the Big Apple

By Elizabeth Montalbano
June 26, 2007 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - NEW YORK -- New Yorkers have a reputation for being a hearty lot, and those who want to be among the first to buy an iPhone on Friday seem to be made of a particularly tough constitution. Despite temperatures that soared above 90 degrees today, several were already lined up outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The leader of the pack was Greg Packer, 43, a retired highway maintenance worker from Huntington, N.Y., on Long Island. Packer lugged his supplies, which included water and clothes, and set up a camping chair on the street outside the store on Fifth Avenue at 5 a.m. Monday so he could be the first in line for Apple Inc.'s latest gadget.

Though he's committed himself to spending nearly five days living on the street for the iPhone, Packer said he's not "computer literate" and doesn't own an iPod. "I'm not really a technology person, but I'm doing the best I can to keep up with technology," he said.

However, two of his favorite things are music and the phone, so Packer, who said he has camped out early for concert tickets and sporting events in the past, wanted to be first in line to get the product that combines the two and provides Internet access at his fingertips. "I want to see what it's like," he said. "I want to give my review of it."

Packer isn't the only one consumed with iPhone fever. At 2 p.m. today three people with chairs were in line behind him, and a fifth person said he was joining the queue while Packer was being interviewed. (That move seemed unlikely, however, since the man was dressed in casual business attire and had no supplies or other equipment that one might have for a four-day camping excursion on a New York street.)

Jessica Rodriguez, a Bronx resident on summer break from New York's Boricua College, said when she stopped by the Apple Store yesterday, she had no intention of camping out. But after talking with Packer and the others lined up outside the store, "it motivated me to want to come."

The iPhone release is a "groundbreaking moment for cell phones," said Rodriguez, who wants to be a part of "something that's going to go down in history."

Rodriguez said she hopes she can buy at least one iPhone for her sister, who has a birthday coming up, but would like to buy two so she can have one. The staff of the Apple Store is being "secretive" about how many phones customers will be able to purchase when they go on sale, she said.

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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