6 a.m. – There are about a hundred cars in the parking lot at WestFarms mall at this hour. And two TV live trucks, and one truck from third station. It’s pretty quiet.
I’m greeted by the public relations woman from the mall who gives me the lay of the land. There are about 85 people in line (including one of the Fox CT Meteorologists, Dan Amarante.) The first person in line doesn’t want to talk to the media because he doesn’t want work to know he’s here. He got here about 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Everyone has a ticket with their place in line noted on it.
Shortly after I arrive, a very enthusiastic crew of Apple Store employees wheel out a cart with coffee and danish. The employees are engaging and make every effort to boost people’s energy.
6:30 a.m. – After a lull, more people start getting in line. It grows quickly.
Here’s a pro tip, if you can afford to spend the night, but want to get out quick, the AT&T store had far less people. There’s about 25 people in line there at this early hour. MaryBeth Hawkins, from AT&T, said they can’t release how many phones they have in stock except to say they have a sufficient amount. It reminds me of Rolls Royce, which never said how many horsepower their engines had, only that it was “sufficient and adequate.
There are two guys here from Diffr3nt.com . They are co CEOs and the company produces canvas iPhone cases which can double as a wallet. Jason Maloney got here first around 8 p.m. Thursday night. Mark Donne joined him a little later. They hand make the cases in Torrington. Since they are not a big company, they don’t get a preview of the new phone’s dimensions, and must purchase the phone to measure it. They expect to have a case for the new model in three weeks. In the meantime they are still selling cases for the older models, which are still on sale, and people can leave contact information to get a notification as to when the new cases are on sale.
More people are arriving, including Apple store employees who enter the store and get a round of applause.
Jay Hart of Torrington is second in line with his mother Nancy. They are both excited, it’s his first iPhone. Nancy says that there’s nothing like and Apple launch event.
Sean Caruthers is up from North Haven. He could have gone to the New Haven Apple store, but said that since it was in the middle of the Yale campus, he didn’t want to compete with all the students. He said, “I’m looking forward to the bigger screen and the fact that it’s thinner.
Erika Stine of Stratford has been at WestFarms for every iPhone launch. She said, “I swap out the phone every year.” She took the day off from work, but will be heading back there to show off the new phone.
8 a.m – The gate goes up to a round of applause. The first customers are ushered in. Each is escorted by an Apple employee. Some come out quickly with phones, others take longer, depending on if it gets set up in the store and if it’s a new account.
The remainder of the morning is somewhat anti climatic outside the store. Customers come out, some are interviewed by the TV crews or have their pictures taken by newspaper photographers. One man covers his face as he leaves. Some are already making calls, some still have the phone in the box. Most are smiling.