When the first iPhone went on sale, it was unlike any other phone that had ever hit the market. Gadget fanatics lined up across the country to shell out more than $500 for Steve Jobs' totally new innovation.
Apple's seventh iPhone launches today and the lines still persist. Around the world, from China to New York to London, people have gathered outside Apple Stores for the launch of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s.
But why? Why are they breaking down the doors for phones they can buy online or can walk in and get at the store later in the day? Why are people sleeping on the streets to get phones that have been updated with just a couple of new impressive features?
1. They are really worried they won't get the phone.
Most of the line-sitters at two New York City stores said they truly thought the store would be out of the iPhone 5s if they showed up at 8 a.m. when the phone goes on sale. Several people cited the fact that there were no pre-orders for the 5s this year and the reports that there will be limited stock and, thus, shortages.
"I want the 64GB gold iPhone and I have heard there is limited stock and I don't want it to run out, so I got here as early as possible," Jenni Glaser, 26, who set up a lounge chair on 67th Street in Manhattan, told ABC News.
Anna Prymak, who was eighth in line at the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan, also said she was there for the gold iPhone, which she had heard was going to run out first. "I want the gold one and everyone wants the gold one," she said.
|"I want the gold one and everyone wants the gold one."|
2. Some do it just for the marketing value.
Ever since the first iPhone was introduced, the lines have been one of the biggest focal points of iPhone launches, especially by the media. And companies and startups know that. At some stores, especially at Apple's iconic Cube store on Fifth Avenue, companies sponsor the first people in line, knowing that the camera crews and reporters will show up on launch day.
For instance, Joseph Cruz, 20, and Brain Ceballo, 19, who were the first in line at that store, have been paid $800 each to wear shirts from a company called SYM.com (Sell Your Mac). SYM founders John Murphy and Justin Lockhart are also in line at the store.
"We are a small company, you can't pay for marketing like this. We have had tons of people come up to us and ask what SYM is," Lockhart said. "We had to have the number one or two spot, so we decided to sponsor them."
To their credit, this article is exactly what they wanted.
3. They want to make money.
There is a reason Apple limits everyone to buying two iPhones on launch day. Many will buy the phones early and then sell them online for at least double the price when the shortages hit.
"It leaves a small opening for black market, you can buy them now and then you can sell them sometimes in New York for as much as two grand," one man in line who requested anonymity said. "There are going to be people in New York who don't want to wait and will pay top dollar."
A number of people said they were planning to buy two phones.
4. The iPhone isn't available yet in their countries.
The iPhone 5s and 5c will launch today in the United States and eight other countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, China and Japan. But other countries have to wait until the end of the year to get Apple's latest phone.
Some people come to the United States to buy the iPhones and then bring them back to their home country just to get an early lead. "We can't buy the phone in Turkey yet and we don't want to miss getting it here," Hazal Erengul said. "And we are just crazy."
|"I feel a responsibility to be out here and show my support."|
5. They just really love the iPhone and Apple.
And for some it's as simple as that. They are a little bit crazy and they just really, really love Apple.
Yes, for some, it's just the love of a company that can keep them on the streets for more than 24 hours. "I have been a loyal Apple customer for awhile," Arton Dokic said.
"Recently, there haven't been major improvements in the iPhones, but I feel a responsibility to be out here and show my support because I really think Apple is the greatest company ever," he added.
Dokic, ABC News confirmed, does not work for Apple.