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NYC Apple stores get crowds for iPhone 5 launch

The Apple iPhone 5 becomes available in New York to crowds lining up outside stores

By Agam Shah, Joab Jackson
September 21, 2012 12:19 PM ET

IDG News Service - With every iPhone launch comes fans waiting outside Apple stores in New York, and it was no different for the iPhone 5, which went on sale Friday.

The iPhone 5, which Apple touts as the "thinnest, lightest and fastest" smartphone ever, has a larger 4-inch screen and LTE capabilities. Some new controversial features include Apple's own mapping service, which replaces Google's popular mapping service, and a smaller five-pin connector called Lightning that replaces the older 30-pin adapter. Existing accessories relying on the 30-pin connector will not fit into the new phone, and users will have to buy an adapter from Apple to connect accessories. With a two-year contract, the smartphone is US$199 with 16GB of storage, $299 for a 32GB model and $399 for a 64GB model.

The smartphone was introduced last week, and Apple this week said more than 2 million pre-orders for the device had been placed, which was a record. But that didn't stop people from lining up outside Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store and SoHo outpost.

The first triumphant buyers walked out of the Fifth Avenue store a few minutes after 8:00AM local time, flashing their iPhone 5s. About 1,000 enthusiasts lined up outside the store, around the same as the iPhone 4S launch. The New York City Police Department also had a larger presence this year.

Some fans camped out a week ahead for a chance to get the first iPhones. But tech enthusiast Alex Brooks, who didn't mind being called an Apple fan boy, arrived at 6:00AM on Friday. Brooks has an iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air, and wanted the latest iPhone 5.

Brooks is attracted to the screen size, the fact that it's thinner and lighter and has a faster processor.

Apple could have handled the Google Maps issue better, he said. He's still not overly impressed with Apple's mapping service, but said it's workable.

"There are other work-arounds to get Google Maps on your phone," Brooks said. For example, it's possible to access Google Maps via a browser.

The LTE support didn't mean much to Brooks or Paris resident Kyrylo Yatsenko, who was visiting New York and decided to join the iPhone line on a whim. His Apple line waiting card carried the number 619.

The new connector wasn't a problem for either Brooks of Yatsenko, with both conceding that Apple had to make a change at some point.

One unusual sight was a police representative handing out brochures on how cell phone users can track their stolen iPhone or Android handsets.

"The NYPD does not specifically endorse any one application, however we encourage you to research and find the right one for you," said the brochure.

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