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Apple fans come out for iPhone 5 launch

People line up for debut iPhone 5 outside AT T store Friday Sept. 21 2012 297 S. Weber Rd. Romeoville.

People line up for the debut of the iPhone 5 outside the AT&T store Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, at 297 S. Weber Rd. in Romeoville. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 21, 2012 3:41PM



Apple fans in the south suburbs joined with their counterparts around the world Friday in lining up early at stores to buy the new iPhone 5.

Long lines were found at the AT&T store at 297 S. Weber Road in Romeoville on Sept. 21. Likewise, fans were lined up early at the Apple Store at 528 Orland Square Drive inside Orland Square Mall in Orland Park,

Clapping, cheering Apple store employees on Friday morning welcomed customers, some of who waited in line for days for the new smartphone as soon as the Michigan Avenue store opened.

“I felt like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant,” said Julian Diggs, the first customer in the door. Diggs, 23, of Wicker Park, started camping out on Michigan Avenue at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Before the store at 679 N. Michigan opened at 8 a.m., the line snaked down Michigan, around the corner, down Huron and across St. Clair.

But some of the first customers to get the new iPhone didn’t spend hours in line — they paid someone else to do it.

In New York, several hundred people lined up outside Apple’s 5th Avenue store. Jimmy Peralta, a 30-year-old business management student, waited three hours before getting the chance to buy his new gadget. Was it worth the wait?

“Definitely,” he said, noting that the new phone’s larger screen and lighter weight compelled him to upgrade from the iPhone 4. “A little treat for me on a Friday morning, why not. Why not be part of something fantastic? It’s just such a smart phone it does all the thinking for you, you can’t get any easier than that.”

Catheryne Caveed, 23, was in line at a Verizon store in the Queens borough of New York. An iPhone 4 user, she had no regrets about skipping last year’s model, the iPhone 4S. The only real upgrade in the 4S, she said, was Siri, the voice-controlled “personal assistant.”

“The 4S looked the same as the 4,” Caveed said. With the 5, “everything is different — even the headphones.”

Apple’s stock was up less than one percent, or $5.61, to $704.23 in late morning trading.

Earlier, in London, some shoppers had camped out for a week in a queue that snaked around the block. In Hong Kong, the first customers were greeted by staff cheering, clapping, chanting “iPhone 5! iPhone 5!” and high-fiving them as they were escorted one-by-one through the front door.

The smartphone will launch in 22 more countries a week later. The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster “fourth generation” mobile networks.

The handset has become a hot seller despite a new map app that early users have deemed inferior to Google Maps, the software it replaces. Apple received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago.

Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.

Hidetoshi Nakamura, a 25-year-old auto engineer, said he’s an Apple fan because it’s an innovator.

“I love Apple,” he said, standing near the end of a two-block-long line, reading a book and listening to music on his iPod.

“It’s only the iPhone for me.”



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