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Posted September 20, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

iPhone lines not long for retailers

By Ryan Cornell

WINCHESTER -- Have iPhone users finally developed launch-day iFatigue?

It used to be a law of nature, just as certain as death and taxes: when Apple releases a new version of its iPhone, people come out in droves on the first day, even camping out overnight. They would stand in lines and leave the store hours later, rewarded for their patience with the recognition of being an early adopter.

Evidently, the buzz for the new iPhone 5S and 5C is on vibrate mode in Winchester.

Ryan McFarland was one of the few customers getting his hands on a black iPhone 5S at the Best Buy on Friday.

"I was a little surprised," he said. "I have to be at work at 11 a.m. so I was hoping there wasn't going to be a line."

An employee at the nearby Sprint Store, he said there were two people in front of him, but they left as soon as they found out the champagne iPhone -- gold-colored in non-Applespeak -- wasn't offered.

He said he liked the fingerprint reader on the new phone. Instead of typing in a numeric password, users of the iPhone 5S can scan their thumbprint to unlock their phones.

Across a display of glowing touchscreens, Hunter Womble and Jim Collinson, graduate students at Shenandoah University, waited to see if a new shipment of phones would arrive. Womble said he had been waiting for about an hour to get a white iPhone 5S for his wife, who was at work.

Stephanie Rae, mobile manager at Best Buy, said the way Apple does its shipments, "we get shipments from UPS throughout the day and you don't know what you're getting, different colors and things like that.

"It's not the type of thing where at an Apple store, everyone comes in and they wait and they get what they're waiting for," she said.

Rae, who came into work at 2 a.m. on Friday, said the store had been preparing for launch day. She said the store has a bigger staff and sectioned off different areas for trade-ins, activations and data transfers.

By the time the store opened at 8 a.m., Rae said there was a small crowd of about 15 people waiting outside. She said many of them turned away once they realized the golden iPhone wasn't in stock. An article by CBS News on Friday reported that gold iPhones won't be shipped until October.

There was a longer line at Chick-fil-A than in all of the combined stores in the Apple Blossom Mall that carried the new iPhones.

Meaghan Jenkins, assistant manager of the Sprint Store, said they had sold a total of five iPhones by noon.

Verizon Wireless sales representative Andrew Carroll said he hadn't sold any iPhones in the hour he was working.

"This whole mall isn't super busy," he said. "It's that time of year, school just started and people are at work."

At noon, a representative at Radio Shack said he was still waiting for the store's shipment of phones to arrive, although they were supposed to have been there by Thursday night.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com


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