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iPhone5 Madness

Customers line up for new phone

On Thursday evening, Sept. 19, people began lining up at the Apple Store, many setting up chairs along the sidewalk at 1900 Northern Blvd. at The Gate in Manhasset. They were lining up for the release of the new iPhone, scheduled for next day.    

Brandon DiBack of Manhasset, age 19, was among those waiting on line Friday morning. When asked why stand in line rather than simply pre-ordering the device? Because pre-orders can end up as back orders. “I just want to make sure I am the first to have it when it comes out,” he said.  

The expectant Apple patrons were stationed behind barricades and the line extended in front of the section of stores which are currently vacant, Daffy’s, and the future Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams furniture store.  The prospective customers were treated to free Starbucks coffee on a table outside the store. The Apple store opened its doors early—before the normal opening hour of 10 a.m. The Apple store manager declined to answer any questions from the press and referred all questions to corporate headquarters.

Two iPhones are being offered this time but the phones are not as transformative as Apple has delivered in the past. The iPhone5 comes in two versions.  One, for the budget conscious consumer, is called the iPhone 5C and comes in five colors ($100 for the 16-gigabyte model with a two-year contract, $550 without). It’s almost identical to last year’s iPhone 5, except that its back and sides are constructed with polycarbonate instead of metal and glass, and the edges are rounded.

The second phone, the 5S ($200 with contract, $650 without) is similar to last year’s iPhone 5, but is available with a brushed aluminum body in dark gray (with black glass accents), silver (white accents) or gold (white accents). Apple says the 5S chip is twice as fast—and should be since it’s a 64-bit chip. That makes the graphics in 3-D video games especially smooth and detailed. There’s also a second chip devoted to tracking motion data from the phone’s compass, gyroscope and tilt sensor. Apple says this co-processor should save battery life so you won’t run out when using fitness tracking or other apps that monitor data all day long.

The 5S’s most ingenious feature (and its most promoted) is the fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. You push the Home button to wake the phone, leave your finger there another half second, and boom: you’ve unlocked a phone that nobody else can unlock, without the hassle of inputting the password.  

The new iPhones come with iOS 7, a redesigned operating system. You can also install it on recent iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models.

The  iOS.7 is clean and straightforward. Its Home screen and dialogue boxes use thin fonts and a color palette of bright, light hues. The iOS 7 is more efficient to navigate—everything is a button, which is more streamlined. Siri responds faster, has a more realistic voice and understands commands. A supremely useful Control Center offers one-touch buttons to change important settings. AirDrop shoots pictures, maps, Web sites and other items to nearby iOS 7 gadgets, quickly and wirelessly.

DiBlack was correct in his statement regarding back orders. The Apple store in Manhasset has run out of iPhone 5’s.  The line still exists on Monday, Sept. 23, and probably will until demand is satisfied. According to a store employee (who was unwilling to be named), the line exists because when a delivery comes in there might be a new supply of iPhone 5s in the package but there is no way of knowing what is the shipment. When asked whether it would be preferable to pre-order online, the Apple rep suggested that was an alternative, but the phones would not be available until sometime in October.