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iPhone 5 officially goes on sale; more than 250 shoppers at the Grove

September 21, 2012|By Andrea Chang
  • People wait in line for the iPhone 5 at the Grove.
People wait in line for the iPhone 5 at the Grove. (Andrea Chang / Los Angeles…)

The wait is finally over.

IPhone 5 sales began at 8 a.m. on Friday, with more than 250 Apple fans lined up at the Grove shopping center.

They included George Adams, 19, and about 10 of his friends. He said he arrived at 6 p.m. Thursday to be the first in line, hoping to sell about half of the group's spots for $300 each.

He sold five spots, but only for $100 each.

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"It was less than what I wanted, but it was a good profit," Adams said.

One of the first to emerge from the Apple store was 25-year-old Tyler Allen from Koreatown, who triumphantly raised the phone in the air as he walked out the doors. The manager of a pizza shop said he waited nearly 12 hours in line and bought a 16 GB black phone after selling his iPhone 4S to a friend two days ago.

"This phone is so sexy. It's so sexy," he said in near disbelief afterward. "I feel like I have a Bentley in my hand."

Another shopper, Steve Merlow, said he arrived at 8:30 p.m. Thursday with his girlfriend, Fatima Aviles. He had been hoping to buy a 16GB black iPhone 5 on the Sprint network, but found out Friday morning that the store hadn't been sent any. He settled for a white model (the Grove's Apple store has since completely sold out of Sprint white 16GB phones).

Merlow, a nightclub cashier from Hollywood, said he was a little disappointed but "I still got my iPhone. I didn't wait 10 hours for nothing."

The iPhone 5 frenzy has pushed Apple's stock to a new all-time high. Shares were trading at $704.51, up $5.81, at 9:15 a.m. PDT.

The process to enter the Apple store at the Grove was orderly and calm. The crowd occasionally cheered and slapped high-fives as people went into the store, but the waiting customers were generally subdued in the early morning hours.

Earlier Friday, Apple employees handed out coffee and bottled waters to the crowd and passed out cards to line sitters that noted which iPhone 5 model each person wanted to buy; shoppers also had their numbers in line scrawled on the backs of their hands.

The Grove, in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, set up amusement park-like barriers on Thursday but didn't allow people onto the shopping center grounds until 4 a.m. That didn't stop a renegade line of customers from forming on Third Street. By 9:30 p.m., about 20 people were in line.

The scene was similar over at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where more than 200 shoppers were lined up at 8 a.m. The line stretched from the Apple store down the block to Wilshire Boulevard, where it wrapped around the Banana Republic store.


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