With only a few gold iPhone 5s models available in the state, Talbot Cox wasn't taking any chances.
To guarantee his prize, Cox began waiting outside the Apple Store in Penn Square Mall at 8 a.m. Thursday, 24 hours before the new phones would go on sale.
He received his reward early Friday when Apple Store employees passed out cards that could be exchanged for phones when the store opened.
“I feel like I'm Charlie in ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,'” Cox said. “I have a golden ticket.”
Cox's journey was not direct. Penn Square Mall closes overnight, forcing Cox and everyone in line to leave the property.
So the group moved across the street to 50 Penn Place, where they napped in their cars before lining up again outside the mall at 3 a.m. When they returned to the mall, they lined up in the same order they were in previously.
“It's kind of a common courtesy thing. You kind of know who was here first,” Cox said. “In Oklahoma that's a whole lot easier than it would be in New York or California. People are a little nicer here in Oklahoma.”
Part of the reason the scheme worked here is because of the camaraderie that has developed among Apple devotees. Cox and several other Apple line sitters have developed fast friendships, even though they only see each other once a year or so.
“We've done this every year,” he said. “This is not our first rodeo.”
Cox was among more than 140 people in line when the Apple store opened its doors.
Whittney Coby waited in line outside the Penn Square Mall Apple Store beginning about 5:45 a.m. for her iPhone 5s. Her friend Whitney Jancen made the trek only for moral support.
“I don't care about the phone,” she said. “It's all about the experience.”
Next to them in line, Grant Taylor was anxious for his own 5s.
“I could have ordered it online, but it would have taken a few weeks to get it,” he said. “I was up anyway, so I decided to come on in.”
Besides the three shades of iPhone 5s, Friday also marked the first day for the colorful, plastic iPhone 5c models.
The 5c phones were available for preorder beginning last week, but Apple did not extend that early option for its flagship 5s models.
The phones were available throughout the metro area. Crowds varied from a few to a few dozen at local Best Buy, AT&T and Verizon locations.
A line began forming outside the North May Avenue Best Buy before 5 a.m., sales manager Bill Hammond said.
“Everybody's excited about it,” Hammond said. “We're super excited we had units available on launch day.”