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Utahns join iPhone 5 mania, buying out devices in 2 stores

Published September 21, 2012 7:26 pm

Tech • Hundreds stand in line for latest version of gotta-have product.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Unless you were one of the dedicated Apple fans willing to stand in line for hours Friday morning, you're probably not basking in the glow of the new iPhone 5 right now.

It took just several hours for both Apple Stores in Utah to sell completely out of the newest gotta-have mobile device from the Cupertino, Calif., company on its first day. Apple representatives said the stores at the Fashion Place Mall in Murray and The Gateway mall in downtown Salt Lake City would be getting new shipments, possibly on a daily basis, and sell them on a first-come, first-served basis. It is not known how many units each store sold Friday.

But it was just another example of the ongoing frenzy to be the first on the block to get the latest iteration of the iPhone.

Overnight lines were reported at both local stores and locations across the world. A Piper Jaffray analyst estimated Friday that the lines for the iPhone 5 were 83 percent longer than those for last year's iPhone 4S, based on head counts at Apple stores in Boston, New York and Minneapolis.

There certainly was more motivation to get the new phone in the Salt Lake area. Lines started forming almost a day earlier than for other iPhone launches.

The developers at Provo-based Sand Mountain Studios didn't have to blow off work to stand in line to buy the new phone Friday. They brought work with them.

On Thursday, the co-founders grabbed their laptops, a whiteboard and a folding card table, and set up a makeshift office in line to be among the first in Utah to buy the new version of Apple's mobile device. They also wanted to see if they could develop an app for the new phone in the 18 hours or so while they were waiting.

"We wanted to use the crowd to see what's popular, so we're pitching ideas," Jonathan Lund, 33, Provo, said Thursday afternoon.

Besides, said partner Spencer Smith, 31, "It's fun."

By 7:30 a.m. Friday, just before the doors opened at the Apple Store at The Gateway mall, about 200 eager iPhone fans were standing in the brisk morning air to get their hands on the new phone.

The new iPhone 5 sports a bigger 4-inch screen, the faster 4G LTE connectivity for data, and better performance all around. The phone is being offered through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. AT&T announced last week that the iPhone 5 was its biggest-selling phone ever in the first two days of online sales.

Dino Oshley, a 44-year-old hairstylist from Salt Lake City, was the very first in line at The Gateway, although he paid his nephew $50 to represent him for the first 12 hours while Oshley was at work.

"I like just the excitement of it all, and I like new gadgets," said Oshley, who has been in an iPhone line before, an event that has become an annual ritual for Apple whenever it has released a new version of the iPhone.

The crowd on hand overnight kept busy by watching "The Avengers" on a big screen or sleeping whenever they could. Most just sat around and talked about their favorite subject, the new iPhone 5.

The developers from Sand Mountain Studios actually got their app made, a virtual whiteboard for the iPad called "Big Board." Users can zoom in and out of the whiteboard and display the whole image on a TV. The developers submitted the app to Apple Friday for approval, which will take longer than it did to make the app.

"It was a community experience," said developer Joe Wilson, 27, Provo, "We had a good time and busted it out."

Apple's stock rose $1.39, to $700.09, in trading Friday. It has become the most valuable public company in history, with a market capitalization valued at $656 billion at the close of the market Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

vince@sltrib.com

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