On his bus ride to class Friday morning, University of Michigan senior Drew Ariana whipped out his new iPhone 5 to respond to a text, and within seconds was surrounded by a crowd of gawking admirers.
“Oh my gosh, is that the iPhone 5?” A fellow rider inquired.
“Can I hold it? I just want to know what it feels like,” another asked, inching closer.
Ariana was one of thousands around the country that waited in line early Friday morning for the newest version of the iPhone, partaking in a nationwide celebration of Apple’s ongoing dedication to technological advancement and innovation.
The latest generation of the phone is thinner, larger and sleeker, and includes faster wireless Internet and an 8-megapixel iSight camera, among a slew of updated features. The phone is 7.6 millimeters in width and weighs 112 grams — 20% lighter and 18% thinner than the previous model, according to Apple.
The 4-inch Retina display is 9 millimeters greater in length than the iPhone 4S and provides 18% more pixels than the old model. The new screen has improved color saturation to generate more eye-pleasing visuals.
Buzz over the phone had been mounting for months, culminating in the opening of a pre-order on Sept. 13. According to Forbes, pre-sales within just one hour forced Apple to delay shipping by a week to prevent running out of pre-order stock for launch day, as compared to the 20 hours it took for the iPhone 4S. In total, Apple sold over 2 million phones during the first 24 hours, CNN reported.
Ariana joined the line of devout Apple fans around 6 a.m., noting that those at the front had been there as early as 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Crowd-goers clad in pajamas curled up in blankets and munched on snacks, while awaiting the opening of the Briarwood Mall, where the Apple store was set to open at 8 a.m.
A similar scene unfolded in Washington D.C. on Friday, where Eric Breese, a sophomore at George Washington University, anxiously awaited for the doors to open.
Berese told USA TODAY that waiting in line provided him with the opportunity to experience a historic moment in the technology industry.
“I think everyone has something that they love, and for me and everyone else in line, it’s technology and being part of this groundbreaking period where we’re seeing technology change the way we live,” Breese said. “It’s really exciting.”
Ariana said the allure of technological advancements — like the iPhone — can largely be attributed to their capacity to integrate a variety of functions and generate a multidimensional product.
“Even though it’s called the iPhone, it really isn’t just a phone anymore,” Ariana said. “I know personally I use my phone as a camera, as a GPS device and as a music player.”
He added that the ability for the iPhone to serve a variety of tasks ultimately saves students money by preventing the need to purchase multiple items.
“If you would take all of those separate gadgets and have to buy them individually without the phone, it would cost so much more money then just having this phone, which could do it all,” Ariana said. “It’s just a cool way to get all of your technologies together.”
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