Apple's winning formula worked again on Friday: If you build it, we will come.
Demand for the Cupertino, Calif., company's gadgets have made Apple the most valuable corporation in the world with a market cap of more than $650 billion on Friday.
People across the state and around the world lined up for hours — or, for some, days — to be among the first to get their hands on the iPhone 5. Media, including The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, flocked to local retailers to count noses and quiz enthusiastic consumers who spent at least $199 for Apple's latest smartphone.
Ironically, management at the Oklahoma City Apple store deferred all questions to corporate media handlers.
For Charles Hopgood, the three hours he spent in line before obtaining the new device were worth the trouble.
“I always get the new one,” Hopgood said. “It's been expensive, but I don't care.”
He opted for the upgrade to get a larger screen, faster processor and lighter phone. While checking out at the AT&T store near N Pennsylvania and Memorial Road, he considered an offer on his iPhone 4S.
Lori Crowson got in line about 6:30 a.m. Friday to buy the new gadget. She has owned every form of iPhone and iPad that Apple has produced. She was able to sell her previous model online for more than the cost of the new iPhone, “which leaves me $100 for shopping,” Crowson said.
Crowson was closely guarding her paper voucher that assured her that she would receive the new iPhone.
Willing to wait
Ryan Stafford, AT&T sales director for the region that includes Oklahoma, said customers seeking iPhones lined up outside all of AT&T's 32 Oklahoma stores on Friday. At many stores, people began lining up on Thursday afternoon, Stafford said.
“We've done this six times before (with Apple products),” Stafford said. “Every time we have customers who chose to come out the night before and wait.”
AT&T had “pretty decent inventory” of the new iPhones, Stafford said, and was expecting more, but smaller, shipments of the devices over the weekend. Customers also can order the phone in stores and wait for the device to be shipped, although that takes two to three weeks, he said.
Apple sold 2 million iPhone 5's online before cutting off pre-orders after 24 hours. That's double the record of 1 million early, online sales it achieved in one day with the iPhone 4.
An analyst who follows Apple predicted consumers might buy the 8 million iPhone 5's this weekend based on long lines at stores in New York, Boston and Minneapolis.
The new phone is thinner and lighter and offers a larger screen.
The cost ranges from $199 to $399 with a two-year contract with a wireless provider.