Apple's iPhone hits Ithaca with a bang

June 30, 2007 by Mark H. Anbinder

iPhone Fever has struck cities across America, and Ithaca is no exception. The eagerly awaited device, Apple's new combination of cellular phone, iPod, and Internet communicator went on sale at 6:00pm today at the AT&T Wireless store on Meadow Street. Ithaca customers were lucky, with sunny and clear weather as evening arrived, compared to the muggy conditions here earlier this week, and thunderstorms cutting a swath across the country from Kansas to North Carolina.

Ithaca's first iPhone.Ithaca's first iPhone.First in line for an iPhone in Ithaca was Derrick Rogers, an Ithaca High School student with enough time on his hands to show up early and buy one of the limited supply of gizmos -- for a friend. The friend, who paid for the iPhone, is also giving Derrick his old -- and now virtually obsolete -- SideKick 3.

Dozens of people waited, some all day, outside the AT&T store in Ithaca's southwest. Like others owned by the cellular company, formerly Cingular Wireless, the Ithaca store closed at 4:30pm to give staff a little time to prepare, and breathe, before the onslaught of customers. They started letting them in one at a time at 6:00, and will keep selling until 10:00pm, or until they run out of iPhones.

If they run out, says AT&T spokesperson Kate MacKinnon, stores will take orders and will ship iPhones to the customers within three to five days. MacKinnon says each AT&T Store employee got six hours of training on the new phone, and they first got to play with them in person this morning. She called all the hype about the new wireless handset "justifiable," adding, "It's the best phone we've ever sold."

MacKinnon called the iPhone launch "Christmas in June," saying each store had to make plans for security and crowd control they usually only need at the height of the holiday shopping season.

Still waiting in line was Benjamin Costello, a local musician and IT professional who says he wishes the iPhone came in a 30 GB model; 8 GB just isn't enough to hold much music. "I'll probably keep carrying my iPod," he said.

One of the early customers, biology professor Kelly Wessell of Tompkins Cortland Community College's Dryden campus, said as he left the store that the iPhone with built-in video iPod is about "getting more bang for your buck." He adds, "Apple is unique in that they merge technology and art and make a beautiful product."

 

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