New iPhones draw devoted crowds to Apple stores

Published: Friday, Sept. 20 2013 7:30 p.m. MDT

A two-block line of people through City Creek Center and down Main Street waits to purchase the new iPhone 5s at the Apple Store Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The line of tech-hungry Utahns snaked past store fronts through downtown's City Creek mall and stretched the length of a city block along Main Street as the rollout of the new iPhone 5s drew crowds to Apple stores throughout the state and nation Friday.

Rusty Lindquist of Centerville, a 39-year old father of seven, made the early morning trek to the Apple store from Davis County to get his hands on one of two new devices.

“I got here about 4:45 a.m.,” he said as he toted a collapsible chair in a bag over his shoulder along with an extra fleece he used to keep warm in the chilly overnight air. “It’s worth it!”

Lindquist said he has made this pilgrimage at least 10 times before with the release of each new Apple device.

“The (iPhone) wakes me up in the morning. It puts me to sleep at night,” he said. “I have it with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s my connection to the world.”

He said he uses his iPhone, iPad, and MacBook for communication, web browsing, and for writing a book manuscript. He said the new mobile device will be focused on taking photos — lots and lots of photos.

“It’s the device I use to capture my life,” he said. “It has an incredible camera. I have kids in sports and a new baby," he said.

Apple gave consumers two phones to choose from: the iPhone 5S, fully loaded with Apple's newest features, and the colorful iPhone 5C, which is a less expensive model.

Analysts predicted Apple would sell 5 million to 6 million iPhones, with some predicting even higher sales.

Lindquist was among several hundred people who waited in line for hours at Apple stores at the newly opened location at Station Park in Farmington, at City Creek Center and at Fashion Place. The first City Creek wouldbe iphone shopper arrived around 3:30pm on Thursday, according to general manager Linda Wardell.

Patrons at Fashion Place began lining up after 9 p.m. closing on Thursday evening, general manager Celeste Dorris said.

“I’ve had every one,” said Stu Singleton of the iphone. He stood in line for five hours outside the City Creek store and called the iphone "pretty cool." He then acknowleged the reality of all new tech: "It’ll be cool for about two more weeks,” he said, mocking his own devotion and the others who held vigil around the country.

“I’ve had a Blackberry. I’ve had an Android. I’ve had all of them. These just (function) better than everything else,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that BlackBerry will cut its workforce by as much as 40 percent by the end of the year as it tries to recapture a portion of the smartphone market.

It once dominated the business market and was the go-to mobile device for politicians and other movers and shakers. But Apple's devoted fans have brought cuts to Blackberry and dominated the market.

Singleton said he is excited about the fingerprint recognition technology, which he said would hopefully deter potential thieves.

Lindquist said he has become a believer in the technology and “grateful for the innovation that it brings. But he also appreciates the personal aspects of joining the growing number of fans who look forward to these rollout events.

“I love to come and sit with a bunch of like-minded people who are passionate and excited, and can’t wait for the doors to open and enjoy the camaraderie,” Lindquist said.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1

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