On the early morning streets of New York City, the sale of the Verizon iPhone was greeted with short lines and a winter chill.
Shortly before 9 a.m. the sidewalk in front of Apple's 14th street store was empty, as employees tended to the small number of customers inside.
Downtown, at Verizon's Wall Street store, approximately fifteen people lined the block, where store employees distributed Verizon-branded hats and complementary hand warmers. The average temperature in New York City on Thursday was 24 degrees (-4 C).
Compared to previous iPhone launches, which were marked by hundreds of customers waiting in line hours in advance, the Verizon iPhone's launch has been tepid - at least at some locations.
Verizon Wireless spokesman David Samberg said that the 34th Street Verizon store had reported close to fifty customers in line this morning. The Bryant Park location recorded thirty.
To keep lines from getting too long, Verizon store customers were given a menu detailing which phone they wanted and what accessories they wanted to be included, on which they could circle their choices.
Samberg said that the idea was to rapidly move customers in and out on the store, not only in an effort to keep lines short, but also to minimize the amount of time people stood outside.
Line lengths were also limited by the large number of retailers selling the Verizon iPhone. In addition to the fifteen Manhattan Verizon store locations, the device could also be purchased at Apple's four Manhattan locations, online, and Best Buy. This is somewhat different from when the iPhone 4 was first rolled out in the summer, when it was only available at the Apple stores.
Despite these options, some customers still went to great lengths to ensure their iPhone purchases. The first person in line at the 34th street location starting waiting in front of the store at 11 p.m. the previous night, besting his Bryant Park counterpart, who had been waiting since 3 a.m.
As for disgruntled AT&T subscribers, Samberg noted that there was a good mix of current Verizon subscribers and customers defecting from competing carriers. One woman at the Bryant Park location had been a Sprint subscriber for twelve years before switching to Verizon, which she said was inspired by the addition of the iPhone.
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