Wanting to be the first to have Apple’s new IPhone 5s, over 200 people stood in line during the pre-dawn hours of September 20. The Apple Store in Carlsbad’s Forum shopping Center, on El Camino Real, wasn’t to open until 8 a.m.
First in line was Brian from Claremont. He had been camped out on the sidewalk in front of the store since 5 p.m. on September 18. By 10 p.m. that night, he was joined by five other acquaintances from Clairemont.
When asked why they didn’t go to closer Apple Stores — University Towne Center or Fashion Valley — the group said they had been kicked out of those centers on previous iPhone unveilings. “The security guards wouldn’t let us camp out overnight,” said Brian.
“When we got here, the security guard showed us where the electric outlets were and said they would keep the bathrooms open for us,” said Brian. On the morning of the unveiling, the group stayed up all night and spent their time watching movies on a big-screen TV in the back of an SUV.
When asked the question of why sit in line for two days for a cell phone, the group said they were excited about the new product’s features. Most anticipated by the group were the phone’s increased speed, fingerprint log-on, the slo-mo video effects, and the true-tone, white balanced camera flash.
Asked about the criticism of the new iPhone for not having a bigger screen, the group pointed out that the bigger screens offered by Samsung and other manufacturers are now becoming borderline tablets. Fourth-in-line Steven demonstrated how one couldn’t reach all the screen commands with one hand on bigger phones.
At 7:10 a.m., workers inside the store placed a working iPhone 5 in a new front window display. The crowd became excited, seeing the new product for the first time live.
While about 40 Apple Store employees were quickly posting new displays and signage inside, seven employees came outside at 7:30 a.m. to hand out queue cards to the waiting crowd, confirming their place in line, and asking which color they wanted to purchase.
The Carlsbad employees refused to talk to the media, only to say they arrived at 5:30 a.m. to get the store ready.
Based on the waiting crowd in Carlsbad, Apple may have a problem with choice of color offerings. Not one of the first 50 people in line wanted the new silver color. I had to go to the 63rd person in line — Aaron from Solana Beach — to find one excited about the silver color. All of the first-in-line Clairemont six wanted the new “Space Gray.” The rest of the first 50 were evenly split between Space Gray and new gold color.
Also unveiling today was the Apple iPhone 5c, but no one in line was there for that model. The Clairemont six said the lesser-loaded “c” model must stand for color, cheap, or children. For the first time ever, Apple accepted pre-orders for a new phone — but only the “c” model, through Amazon and other retailers, which all offered overnight delivery. The iPhone 5c offers many designer colors, retails for $99, but has less power and features than its counterpart — the wait-in-line-for-days iPhone 5s.