By the time the Apple Store in Carlsbad opened their doors at 8:00 a.m. on September 19, 300 people were in line to get their hands on the new iPhone 6 and 6+. All in line had either pre-ordered and pre-paid for their new phone or had made a reservation for the opportunity to stand in line and buy the new phone.
Earlier, about a hundred or so people left the line when the store made the 6:00 a.m. announcement that T-Mobile customers wanting to purchase the iPhone 6+ would be out of luck today. No reason was given as to why T-Mobile couldn’t accommodate the first-day demand.
Paul Taieno from Oceanside was first in line. He (or his place-saving son) began camping out on the sidewalk in front of the store two days earlier, at midnight. He was hoping to get the 64-gig, 6+ in "Space Gray" (a metallic black color). “I’m getting older and my eyes need the bigger screen,” he said.
Cheng Hao Xing and his three fellow Chinese students at SDSU were next in line, having arrived just after Taieno. To pass the time, they played video games and tried to sleep on the concrete. The group of four said they would be buying eight 6+ phones to share with family or friends. Discussing their color choice, Xing said, “Our culture likes the gold color. We only want the gold one.”
Summer Davidson, from Del Mar, and her friend Enzo Flores, from Rancho Santa Fe, filled the third-in-line position for over 24 hours, watching Netflix. They were saving spots for five others in their families. They admitted the iPhone 6 is just an upgrade for the current iPhone 5. But the 6+ is what everyone wants. “I’ve stood in line for each iPhone release,” said Davidson.
Just prior to the opening, some 40 blue-shirted staff members inside the Apple Store began chanting “i6, i6, i6.” Then, security guards opened the doors and the entire staff went running outside through the line — which wrapped around the back of the store — whooping and hollering as they high-fived each person and thanked them for coming.
Once admitted inside, customers walked through the store-long gauntlet of Apple employees cheering their entrance. While those in line were allowed into the store in groups of ten, regular customers would not be admitted until the store’s usual opening time of 10:00 a.m.
The Apple spokesperson outside couldn’t confirm there would be enough products for all those in line.
Other than being a part of the spectacle of the early-line frenzy, no one I talked with could explain why they didn’t opt to preorder online. FedEx stated that most pre-ordered iPhone deliveries would be made by later that afternoon.