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iPhone 5: Long Lines, Beefed-up Security

Update: Martinez teen ready to camp out overnight at Walnut Creek Apple Store to be in line for the new iPhone 5 Friday morning. Long lines are expected anywhere the iPhone is sold.

iPhone 5: Long Lines, Beefed-up Security iPhone 5: Long Lines, Beefed-up Security

Eighteen-year-old Zachary Matera of Martinez has a chair and a blanket and a plan to camp out at the Apple Store in Walnut Creek tonight to get a crack at the new iPhone 5 Friday morning.

The iPhone 5 goes on sale at 8 a.m. Friday, and stores stocking the smartphone are preparing for an onslaught.

Walnut Creekers will be watching for a line snaking out onto the South Main Street sidewalk from the Apple Store across the street from Neiman Marcus.

AT&T on Monument Boulevard in Pleasant Hill is planning to have the phone in stock, but staff warn that customers should expect a long wait in line at the store Friday.

Band, no. Wii, yes.

Matera, a student at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, said he planned to stop at the Apple Store around 7 p.m. Thursday and, if the line's not too bad, have dinner and return for the overnight wait. "I've never done that for a band," he said. "But when the Wii came out, I did.

"I have the iPhone 4, and it’s extremely out of date. If I had the 4S I wouldn’t get the 5. But with the update, I’ll get Siri, voice navigation for the map and the retina display. I’ve always loved Apple, and I try to get all the upgrades. I had the 3, and I updated to 4. I forgot to pre-order the 5, so I have to camp in line to get it tomorrow.
 
"Siri looks interesting because I can do things like check the scores to all the sports games when I’m at school. Also, Siri will read texts to you while you drive, and you can speak back what you want to say — instead of typing a text, which is extremely dangerous. I use the calendar for school to organize classes, homework and when it’s due."

Some potential sites for iPhones:

  • AT&T, 1231 S. California Blvd., Walnut Creek.
  • AT&T, 1521 Olympic Blvd., Walnut Creek.
  • Verizon Wireless, 1141 Locust St., Walnut Creek.
  • Radio Shack, 1537 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.
  • Target, 1871 N. Main St., Walnut Creek.

See if a store near you is selling the phones using this tool on Apple’s website. You can search for both Apple stores and other retailers. Make sure to select "iPhone" from the "Products" drop-down menu, and check with the store to see if the iPhone 5 is in stock.

Stores will open at 8

Bay Area representatives for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have said their stores will open at 8 a.m. Friday to service customers.

AT&T spokesman John Britton said AT&T security would be “beefed up” and stores would be “staffed to the max” to get people through the expected wait as fast and efficiently as possible. He said the demand can be somewhat unpredictable.

“You can never say for sure if there are going to be lines. Some of the launches have had more people waiting than others,” said Britton. “One year they started forming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon the day before.”

He said the largest line he could recall drew 130 people to wait outside a San Francisco store in the Financial District.

Britton also noted that this will be AT&T’s sixth iPhone launch since 2007, when the company initially was the only cell provider to offer the model.

“We've been through this before,” he said. “We’re ready.”

Sprint and Verizon Bay Area representatives did not respond to requests about how their stores were preparing for the sale.

The new iPhone is thinner and lighter than the last two generations, but it is taller to accommodate a bigger screen. Apple says its processing speed is much faster than its predecessors, as well.

The iPhone 5 starts at $649, but the price can come down to as low as $200 with a cellular plan subscription.

iPhone 5 sales could boost economic growth in the U.S. by a third of a percentage point during the fourth quarter, J.P. Morgan anticipates. However, NPR's Planet Money says J.P. Morgan's analysis is faulty, predicting that most who splurge on the new product before the end of the year will likely cut back on other spending, making it a zero-sum game.

Are you planning to queue up for an iPhone? Is the whole thing over-hyped? Comment below.

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