Apple fans line up outside metro malls for iPhone 5

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

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ATLANTA - Ross Gall spent six hours on the sidewalk outside Lenox Square on Friday morning before he and others waiting for the new iPhone 5 were allowed to inch closer to their ultimate goal.

“We’ve been out for sandwiches. We’re happy as clams,” Gall said, perched in a folding chair and chatting with new-found friends in line. Gall said he drove from Marietta to Buckhead about 11 p.m.

A Channel 2 Action News photographer found about two dozen people outside the mall early Friday. Those waiting for one of the most anticipated cellphones in history were allowed inside the mall at 5:30 a.m., with Georgia’s largest Apple store opening at 8:30 a.m.

Channel 2 viewers sent photos on Twitter of lines at the Mall of Georgia and Perimeter Mall where more than 100 people stretched across the parking lot.

The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster "fourth generation" mobile networks.

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.

“It's a lot faster, it’s a lot better connection speed. Everything’s just a little better and a little faster,” Gall said.

Gall later emailed Channel 2's Jim Strickland to complain he never got a phone after nine hours of waiting.   His online order was too far into the shipping process and he would have to wait for delivery.

Garrett Ellington, of Kennesaw, lined up outside the mall about 10 p.m.

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“Right now the estimate on line is about 4 weeks to get one shipped to you,” Ellington said. “I don’t know. I just want it.”

Edward Watkins was among the first with a new phone. This is not his first time in line.
         
"I camped out every year since 2007," he said of his experience with several Apple product launches.

Apple wouldn't let cameras in the store, nor would the company talk about local sales numbers.
        
Across the street, AT&T, had no more lines by late morning, but also, no more phones.

"It's 11:30, and we just sold the last device," spokesman Lance Skelly told Strickland.

"If I'd have ordered at 3 a.m. I'd have probably got it, but I ordered at 6 a.m.  I didn't," lamented Matthew Stancil.