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Brooklyn iPhone buyers avoid lines, buy local

While thousands of iPhone 5 devotees across the world lined up Friday morning outside of Apple stores for hours – or in some cases days – many buyers in Brooklyn snagged the sleek, new Apple device in local mobile phone stores or online.

The AT&T store on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights sold out of its entire stock by 10 a.m., an employee said, while the Verizon store just down the street sold out by 11 a.m. – though they still had a few left for existing customers who qualified for an upgrade.

Radio Shack employees handed out flyers on Montague Street Friday morning letting buyers know that they had plenty in stock. And the Radio Shack on Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn was still going strong at 1 p.m. An employee said that phones were still available Friday afternoon for customers who had contracts with Verizon.

Michael Turner, who works in the import business in the DUMBO neighborhood, pre-ordered his two iPhone 5s with Sprint two weeks ago. “I pre-ordered at 3 a.m. on September 14th,” he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “I got two – one black and one white, both 16 gigabytes.” While some buyers were still waiting in line Friday morning, his new phones were delivered “at 11:15 downstairs by UPS.”

He said he bought the second phone as a gift. “They don’t even know it yet!”

About those who waited on line, Turner said, “It’s definitely a different experience – you must be really dedicated to the Apple brand.” Turner said he wanted to avoid “that crazy mob running into the store.”

The iPhone 5 is thinner, taller and lighter than the previous iPhone, with a faster processor and revamped software. It can also work on faster "fourth generation" – 4G -- mobile networks.

Turner said he was moving to iPhone from a Blackberry. “I’m getting 4G, and a better camera –going from 5 to 8 megapixels. I’m going from a 2.8-inch screen to a 4-inch screen, and from touch-sensitive to retina display. I’m also looking forward to Face Time.” The fact that Apple provides “about three times more apps than Blackberry” also played a part in his decision, he said.

His only disappointment so far is the fact that one of his phones has a thin blue line running almost imperceptibly across the screen vertically. Turner intends to return the unit and swap it for a new one.

Online wait times are now 3 – 4 weeks for online orders. Expectations are running high that Apple will sell millions within weeks, blowing past previous sales, according to the Associated Press. Some analysts wondered if Apple would be able to keep up with demand.

The devices are among the most stolen items in New York City, the NYPD warns. “The theft of Apple phones and other hand-held devices drove the spike in robberies and larceny this year,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement. Officers registered serial numbers of new phones outside of several Apple, AT&T and Verizon stores in Manhattan – but none were in evidence in Downtown Brooklyn.

September 21, 2012 - 4:55pm


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