NEW YORK -- Online vs. in line? That's the
choice for those who want Apple's new iPhone 5 right away when it is
Ordering the device via the
Web may mean a warmer, drier experience, but iPhone fanatics still have
been lining up outside Apple's flagship New York City store since
MORE: Review: Apple iPhone 5 in front of the smartphone pack
Their motivations are mixed. Of
course, there's the desire to be among the first to nab the coveted
gadget, which is thinner and has a faster processor than past versions.
Those early birds will get first dibs when it sells at retail beginning
at 8 a.m. Friday.
But there are other
underlying drivers for those queuing up 16 deep by early Tuesday
afternoon -- as well as those who will wait in other Apple lines across
Among them: the camaraderie of
being with other iPhone fans; the opportunity to buy a product that can
quickly be resold for a profit; and the chance to be a part of a novel
and high-profile happening.
bitterly about waiting in lines and yet gleefully stalk Nike shoes and
Apple phone releases," says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at
Golden Gate University. "Which really tells you that this is more of an
event than anything else."
27, who has lined up since Thursday, says she's there for the unique
experience, which she deems "urban iCamping."
"Most people would never get to do this," she says. "Most people would never want to do this. But to each their own."
iPhone line phenomenon is unique in that folks are queuing up for a
product they can easily buy online, says George Belch, chairman of San
Diego State University's marketing department.
other instances, people join long, snaking lines because that's the
only way they can get a hot toy, concert tickets or student tickets to a
sporting event, he says.
The payoff can be
big for those who wait for the iPhone, he says. They not only get a new
device, they also get to enjoy the process of mingling with others who
share their Apple passion, as well as the bragging rights that come with
sticking it out.
"It's a badge of honor," Belch says.
Those in the Manhattan line had many benefits in mind for their persistence.
resident Ky Jensen-Stewart, who recently lost his job at an iPhone
repair shop and is starting his own similar business, plans to buy two
iPhone 5s -- the maximum purchase -- and sell both for a profit.
software developer Hazem Sayed, who snared the first spot around 9 a.m.
Thursday, wants to check out the new phone's features to see how it
will work with a social-networking app he developed called Vibe. He's
also using his time in line to promote the app.
in the line had their wait subsidized by tech companies. Brian Ceballo,
18, and Joseph Cruz, 19 -- Brooklyn residents who were holding down
spots six and seven -- each donned bright orange shirts with the moniker
Gazelle. Gazelle buys used cellphones, iPads, computers and other
"The company is paying us to wear
this stuff," says Cruz. The men each expect to receive a gift card that
covers the cost of a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 plus tax, which they figure
will be more than $600 each.
Mellow, in spot three, also had her wait sponsored by Gazelle.
She, like many others in the line, chatted with curious tourists and posed for pictures.
"People call us crazy," she says. "And they might be right -- but at least we're having fun."
minutes of her saying that, Vimal Rajput and his wife, Malini,
visiting New York City from Austin, shared a different view.
don't know why you just wouldn't pre-order," said Vimal. He
pre-ordered his phone early last Friday and hopes to receive it this
Friday, if he's not affected by any Apple delays.
thought he was crazy staying up until 3 a.m. at home," says his wife,
looking over the Apple line. "But I came here and thought, 'OK, he's
not crazy.' "
Mellow tried to convince the tourists that waiting in line was fun.
"We're Apple fanatics," she says. "It's amazing to see people get together and just bond over one thing."