Hundreds of people lined 5th Avenue in Manhattan on the morning of September 20, 2013, in front of Apple’s flagship store, anxiously awaiting the store’s 8 a.m. opening and the new iPhone 5s release. Apple employees greeted the crowd with cheers. The group at the head of the line had been waiting 15 hours, only to find out they may not leave with a gold iPhone.
“I’ve had every version of the iPhone since its debut, and all I want is a gold one,” said one customer who had been waiting in line since the night before. The majority of customers in line seemed to be excited mainly for the new gold color option. The iPhone 5s also features a new fingerprint reader and a faster, A7 64-bit processor.
Another customer, on vacation from Portland, explained that “Apple has never sold a gold phone, so it feels very exclusive to be one of the first to have one.” Exclusivity has long been a key component of Apple’s marketing strategy, and given the lack of an online pre-order option for the iPhone 5s release, those in line Friday morning will be part of an elite club. Apple’s online store is currently showing a ship date of October — two weeks away at the earliest.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple has already asked its suppliers to increase production of the gold models to help meet demand, but many people today were still left feeling disappointed in the short supply. “I feel like they should have been better prepared, so I’m a little frustrated,” one customer said in reference to the shortage of gold iPhones. He still purchased a black phone, and was already enjoying the new iSight camera. “I love the new camera!” he shouted to the crowd waiting to get into the store.
Others were also happy with their new iPhones, regardless of color. One student in line was most excited for iOS 7. “I had the iPhone 5 and purposely didn’t upgrade to the new software so I could enjoy it on my new 5s,” she said, after purchasing a 32GB black iPhone 5s.
News crews also lined the street interviewing people in line and reporting on the buzz of the iPhone 5s release. Many of the first in line had been interviewed by at least five different reporters before entering the store. The New York Police Department had a booth set up on the sidewalk to encourage customers to register their new iPhones with their Operation I.D. program, which is used to combat theft.