|Robin Neeson, community education director for the Cloverleaf Local School District, displays her newest gadget, the Apple iPhone, Friday night at the AT&T store on North Court Street in Medina. Neeson said the iPhone is the coolest phone on the market. â€œNo phone comes close to this. I feel so lucky,â€ she said.|
MEDINA â€” Judgment Day arrived at 6 p.m. Friday.
For Apple Inc., anyway. Its new iPhone, which has been surrounded by six monthsâ€™ worth of unprecedented hype, went on sale at that hour at AT&T retail stores as well as Appleâ€™s retail and online stores.
There were about a dozen people lined up outside Medinaâ€™s AT&T store at 930 N. Court St. around 4 p.m. Friday. Most were sitting in lawn chairs, relaxing until the store opened at 6. Some were drinking coffee, eating food or reading the newspaper.
Robin Neeson, community education director for the Cloverleaf Local School District, who resides in Westfield Center, said sheâ€™d been waiting at the store since 1 p.m.
â€œI really want the phone,â€ she said, adding she took the day off to wait in line.
Since its unveiling in January, expectations the iPhone will become yet another blockbuster product for Apple has pushed the companyâ€™s stock up more than 40 percent, the Associated Press reported.
It also reported Apple itself has set a target of selling 10 million units worldwide by 2008, gaining roughly a 1 percent share of the cell phone market. The iPhone is expected to go on sale in Europe later this year and in Asia in 2008.
Even before the iPhone hit stores across the U.S., it piqued a lot of peopleâ€™s interest.
â€œEarlier this year, (people) could go on our Web site and say they were interested in the phone,â€ AT&T spokesman Bob Beasley said. â€œMore than one million people expressed interest.â€
The interest, he explained, is because â€œitâ€™s a revolutionary device in the wireless industry. Not only is it the best iPod thatâ€™s ever been made, itâ€™s also the best wireless Web browser and the best phone all wrapped into one.â€
Appleâ€™s Web site states the iPod feature on the iPhone allows users to sync content â€” music, audiobooks, videos, television shows and movies â€” from the iTunes library on their PC or Mac and access it with â€œjust the touch of a finger.â€
â€œiPhoneâ€™s stunning 3.5-inch widescreen display is the ultimate way to watch TV shows and movies â€¦ on a pocketable device,â€ the Web site states. â€œJust tap the touch controls for play/pause, chapter forward/backward and volume.â€
Along with iPod capabilities, users also can access Web pages and their e-mail from the iPhone.
â€œiPhone is fully multi-tasking, so you can read a Web page while downloading your e-mail,â€ Appleâ€™s Web site states.
â€œItâ€™s a wireless device that brings your computer screen to your hand,â€ Beasley said.
Not only that, iPhone comes equipped with a Maps application â€” which allows users to view maps or satellite images or get directions or traffic information â€” and widgets â€” small applications that give users information like stock and weather reports.
The iPhone also features a 2-megapixel camera and a photo management application.
â€œYou can store pictures, call pictures up, stretch them, make them smaller,â€ Beasley said, adding all this is possible â€œsimply by using your fingers.â€
iPhones also have Visual Voicemail, which, like e-mail, lets users go directly to any of their voicemail messages without listening to previous messages first.
In addition, it automatically adjusts the displayâ€™s brightness to the appropriate level for the current ambient light, Appleâ€™s Web site states.
â€œEverything about it is so intriguing,â€ Neeson said. â€œItâ€™s something thatâ€™s not in any other phone store. Itâ€™s totally new.â€
Mark Harrison, a Medina resident employed at Super Kmart who also was waiting outside the Medina store Friday, agreed.
â€œEverythingâ€™s in one unit,â€ he said.
Because itâ€™s so new, itâ€™s too soon to tell whether the iPhone can live up to the hype.
In a Los Angeles Times article, Trip Chowdhry, a software analyst with Global Equities Research in San Francisco, said: â€œThis product is going to be loved or hated. There may not be a second chance if itâ€™s terrible.â€
And then thereâ€™s the price. A 4-gigabyte model costs $499 and an 8-gigabyite model costs $599, a press release from AT&T and Apple states. But thatâ€™s just for the phone. Users also will have to purchase a monthly service plan â€” and the cheapest one available is $59.99 (450 minutes).
Thereâ€™s also a $79.99 plan (900 minutes) and a $99.99 plan (1,350 minutes).
All plans, which require a two-year service agreement, include unlimited data (e-mail and Web), Visual Voicemail and 200 text messages.
But Harrison said the iPhone is worth it, and Neeson agreed.
â€œItâ€™s worth every penny,â€ she said, adding sheâ€™s dropping her service with Verizon and paying an early-termination fee to get an iPhone.
Apple has not disclosed how many iPhones were available at launch, the Associated Press reported.
Beasley said, â€œWe have a good stock of phones at all our locations,â€ but if, by chance, â€œwe run out, anyone will be given the option to have an iPhone mailed directly to their home.â€
Additionally, stock will be replenished weekly, he said.
Khoury may be reached at 330-721-4049 or email@example.com.