Long Lines and Beefed Up Security Expected for iPhone 5 Release

Apple’s much-anticipated new iPhone 5 is set to debut Friday, Sept. 21. Long lines are expected at Apple stores and anywhere the iPhone is sold.

The iPhone 5 officially goes on sale Sept. 21 at 8 a.m., and stores stocking the smartphone are preparing for an onslaught. AT&T on Monument Blvd. 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.

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.

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.

Know stores near Concord that carry the iPhone? Are you planning to queue up for one? Is the whole thing over-hyped? Comment below.


  • What do you think of the iPhone 5? Worth the money and the hype?
  • Did you manage to pre-order the iPhone 5?
Stephen Reinhardt September 20, 2012 at 04:01 AM
We got ours pre-ordered delivering Friday!
Emily Henry September 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Wow, how did you manage that?! Have fun with your new toy!
Lisa - Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano September 20, 2012 at 05:33 PM
As much as I would love the iPhone 5 I am not willing to pay the price nor would I spend my time waiting in line. I'm not judging anyone who would! Just my feeling on it.


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