SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Customers started arriving outside the Apple store at the Gateway Mall Thursday morning - an early indicator, perhaps, that Friday's in-store debut of the new phone will bring the usual throngs of people with it.
"I want the new iPhone. I want it, I want it, I want it," exclaimed Apple fan Angel Hayes, who happens to be upgrading from the iPhone 4S.
Hayes is just one of millions of Americans poised to hit stores tomorrow for the launch. And it's not just Apple stores expecting a big rush. Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T stores as well as select Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, and Walmart locations will be rolling out the red carpet for the rush of consumers too.
Leo Rosette started camping out behind the Gateway Apple store around 8AM. He wants to be first in line, just in case Apple runs out of phones early. "I think there are going to be a lot of people and I'm not sure the store will have enough phones for everybody," said Rosette.
There's even so-called "line-standers" who are being paid by someone else to wait in line for them - like Chance Lameman, who's uncle offered to pay him 50 bucks. "He just texted me a couple days ago and was like do you want to make some money standing in line for me," said Lameman.
Several million people across the country opted this year to forgo the long lines and instead, order the iPhone 5 online. Despite the back ordering and wait times on the interent, they say it's the best way to avoid the mad rush at stores. "You had to fight with the (online) crowd at the beginning and the site slows down, but it's well worth it, and then you just wait for it to come in," said Aaron King who ordered his iPhone 5 online. As King points out, though, unless you hopped online within the first hour or so last Friday, pre-ordered iPhones aren't expected to arrive for weeks.
Apple announced it had received two million pre-orders for the new phone. According to Apple, that's about double what the company experienced for the previous iPhone.
Doors open at Apple stores across the country at 8am, local time. That can't come early enough for consumers like Hayes who will spend his night camped at the Gateway with visions of iPhones dancing through his head. " I've got my blanket, my pillow...I might have my little portable TV. I'll just watch TV and hang out here till morning, and then go inside, and get my new iPhone," said Hayes.
In addition to the U.S., the iPhone 5 will roll out in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the UK. It will debut in 22 more countries on September 28.