As expected, the lines were long, but fans said the wait was worth it to be able to purchase an iPhone 5 on Friday morning.
The new Apple product went on sale at 8 a.m.
Apple stores were the main focus of people eager to get their hands on this latest electronic gadget.
At Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, about 200 people were in line when the Apple store there opened its doors.
By 10 a.m., the line was down to 75 people. The wait was about 15 minutes at that point.
There were a half-dozen mall security guards watching over things. One Apple store employee said this was the biggest turnout they've ever had.
Kevin Maker, 25, of San Ramon was one of those who waited. He got in line at 7:30 a.m. Friday.
This was the third time he's camped out to buy a new iPhone. It took him three hours to purchase an iPhone 4. This time, the wait was much shorter.
"I stand in line for the anticipation of the new product and the desire to get it in your hands instead of waiting for shipment to come," said Maker.
iPhones are also being sold at some AT&T stores, Verizon Wireless outlets, Radio Shacks and Target stores.
However, supplies might be limited at some places.
At the AT&T store on Las Positas Road in Livermore, eager customers started lining up as early as 4 a.m. An employee said about 75 people were in line once the store opened this morning.
At the Target in San Ramon, employees said they didn't receive their shipment of the new iPhone on time and were taking pre-sales for the phone. Four people had ordered the phone as of 11 a.m. Friday
"Usually what happens is (Apple) sends a shipment a week or two after the release, but they don't send enough, so we have to wait for more," said Ryan Rodrigues, who works in Target's electronic department.
A representative at the Radioshack in Albany said the shop would be a week or two weeks behind in stocking the phone. He said some customers plan to pick up pre-orders from the store Friday, but otherwise he isn't expecting to have it on hand.
People in Walnut Creek lined up Thursday evening on the South Main Street sidewalk at the Apple Store across the street from Neiman Marcus.
Zachary Matera, 18, a student at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, was one of those planning to queue up.
Matera said he planned to stop at the Apple Store around 7 p.m. Thursday and, if the line's not too bad, have dinner and return for the overnight wait.
"I've never done that for a band," he said. "But when the Wii came out, I did."
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 said their stores would open at 8 a.m. 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.”
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.
To read some reviews of the new iPhone, click here.
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.
Are you planning to queue up for an iPhone? 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?