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Orlando Lines Form Early For iPhone 3G

A little more than a year ago people in Orlando, Florida, waited in lines outside the area’s two Apple Stores and the many AT&T stores to be among the first to own Apple’s new mobile platform: the iPhone. Back then it was somewhat understandable that some would wait for more than 24 hours to insure they got what was billed as being an industry defining device.

The iPhone proved that it could change an industry and today Apple started selling its next version of the iPhone, the iPhone 3G, and it seems like deja vu all over again.

Lines started forming outside of some AT&T stores at 7:00PM Thursday evening. By 6:00AM there were maybe 20 people in line at the AT&T Store at Waterford Lakes Town Center, a shopping center in East Orange county near Orlando, Florida, where Eric Merden was the first in line. "I’m going to pay the extra tax and upgrade early," Eric said. "I love my Blackberry, but it doesn’t sync well with my Mac running Leopard (OS X version 10.5)."

Inside 10 minutes the number of people in line behind Eric tripled.


Eric Merden is first in line and the Waterford AT&T Store

Line at 6AM at the Waterford AT&T Store

At The Mall at Millenia, Corey McCabe got in line at 10:00PM Thursday night. He currently owns the first iPhone model, but is trading up "...to get 3G and some of the other features like games and social networking."


The line at 6:30AM outside the Mall at Millenia

Corey McCabe has been in line since Thursday

The Millenia Mall started letting people into the mall to form lines outside the Apple Store at 7:00AM, and by that time well over 150 people were in line. Taren Buckner got in line at 5:30AM so that he could buy his first iPhone. "This is my first smart phone. I thought I’d see what this is all about," he said. Brandon Frankenfield is looking to do some application development for the iPhone. He also says he’s "...replacing my Blackberry. The 3G network, apps, and Safari are big attractions for me."


Taren Buckner (left)and Brandon Frankenfield (right) wait with much patience at the Mall at Millenia, Orlando, FL

The crowd at 7:30AM in the Mall at Millenia

John Litton showed off four iPhones. "We use them in our church. I’ve been able to eliminate much of my computer usage by using the iPhone. 3G is big for us so we’re replacing the older models with the new ones."


John Litton about to do a four phone swap

Max Lallemand couldn’t see waiting in the lines -- he has the early iPhone model -- but still is intent on getting an iPhone 3G. "The iPhone is quite simply the easiest gadget I have ever used," he said.


Max Lallemand won’t wait in line, but will get a 3G later

Over at the Apple Store in Florida Mall, Joel Hackney had been in line since 4:30AM. When I caught up with him at 9:00AM he had just finished his iPhone purchase. "GPS and apps are a big for me," Joel said. "The iPhone 3G seems to be a better platform and I’m looking to develop some apps."


Joel Hackney shows off his new 3G

Outside the Florida Mall Apple Store there were still well over 50 people in line at 9:30AM. The same was true at every AT&T store I drove pass.

If the original iPhone was a hit then, it appears that the iPhone 3G is a bona-fide blockbuster.

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