Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=178163
Story Retrieval Date: 5/23/2013 2:40:21 PM CST
Sub-zero temperatures did not stop more than a dozen people from standing in line before the 7 a.m. opening of the Verizon Wireless store in Lincoln Park Thursday. Freezing or not, they were going to get their iPhones.
About 10 others waited in cars and in the nearby CTA station. The most determined arrived at midnight with others following in the wee hours of the morning. That may sound like a long wait, but it was nothing for 22-year-old Mary Claire Lipinski, who works at a law firm downtown.
“I’ve been waiting for the iPhone for two years,” Lipinski said.
Verizon Communications Inc. announced Jan. 11 that it would begin selling the Apple Inc. iPhone Feb. 10, with online ordering open to current Verizon Wireless customers Feb. 3.
Just after 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Feb. 3, Verizon Wireless closed online ordering for current customers. It reopened online ordering Feb. 9 for both current and new customers.
"In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first-day launch in our history,” said Dan Mead, Verizon’s president and CEO, in a statement.
The company anticipates that first-day in-store sales will be equally as impressive.
“We expect this launch to be hugely successful,” said Carolyn Schamberger, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless. “There is a great pent-up demand for the iPhone 4 on the Verizon network.”
The company said it prepared for the launch by making sure its network could handle the extra traffic and by providing all employees with special training.
“I’ve been a fan of the iPhone since it came out.” said D. Micah Lindsey, 33, a current Verizon customer who arrived at the store at 12:30 a.m. Thursday. “But I just couldn’t see myself switching over to AT&T.”
So will customers who slept in be able to purchase iPhones at their local Verizon Wireless stores?
“Demand may be more than our supply,” Schamberger said.
She added, however, that the company is doing everything it can to get iPhones into the hands of customers. Those who are unable to purchase the iPhone in stores can order the phones online and have them shipped directly to their homes.
Despite strong expected sales, the stock price of Verizon Communications Inc., which co-owns Verizon Wireless with Vodaphone Group PLC, declined Thursday, closing at $36.42.
“I think the Verizon stock today is being impacted by the overall market action and also reflects the fact that it has outperformed in anticipation of the iPhone release,” said Rick Franklin, a telecommunications analyst with Edward Jones & Co.
Franklin projects that Verizon Wireless will activate around 12 million iPhones in 2011.
Brent Seifts, a 21-year-old student at Columbia College in Chicago, managed to nab one of the first iPhones by making his way to the Verizon Wireless store at 4:30 a.m.
“I’ve never had a smart phone, so I’m just really excited,” Seifts said.