Hundreds Line Up Outside Downtown Apple Store To Buy Telephone

Hundreds of people are lining up this morning at the Apple store on Stockton Street in San Francisco for a chance to buy Apple’s new iPhones.

The highly anticipated iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus went on sale this morning at Apple Stores across the country.

By 8:30 a.m., the line of people at the store at 1 Stockton St. was a few hundred deep.

It stretched along Stockton Street, down O’Farrell Street and onto Powell Street.

There was also a second line stretching down Ellis Street of a few dozen people who preordered the smartphones.

Customers toward the back of the walk-in line said they were told the estimated wait time was about four hours. The line for preorders was about 30 minutes.

East Bay resident Scott Miner and his wife Noon got in line around 10 p.m. Thursday but were still behind dozens of people.

“I’m looking forward to it, because I’ve got this dog of an iPhone 4 right now that I’ve been waiting to get rid of,” he said.

Miner, who was looking to buy the iPhone 6 Plus, said he wanted to wait in line overnight, because he has work later today.

He said the wait has been worth it.

“We’re having a good time,” he said. “It’s a party atmosphere.”

Miner didn’t preorder the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch display, because he wanted to make sure the smartphone isn’t too big to carry around comfortably.

The iPhone 6 has a smaller 4.7-inch display.

Noon Miner pointed out it wasn’t her husband’s first time waiting in line for an Apple product.

She said he spent the night in line in 2012 when the iPad 3 was released and was actually the first person to buy one at the San Francisco Apple store.

Apple announced this week preorders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus topped 4 million within the first 24 hours of its availability, breaking a company record.

San Francisco resident Kevin Quigley said he preordered the iPhone 6, because he wanted to avoid waiting in line for hours.

“I have the iPhone 4, and to be honest, it is just time for an upgrade,” he said. “Mine’s got the cracked screen, and the whole nine yards.”

He added he’s excited for the bigger screen and Apple Pay, built-in payment technology touted by Apple as a new way to pay for transactions that will eliminate the need to use cash or swipe credit and debit cards.

Not everyone camped out in front of the store was excited about the new iPhones.

About a dozen protestors supporting the Service Employees International Union stood on the sidewalk just outside the store to speak out against what they said was the negative footprint technology companies are having on Silicon Valley.

The protestors used a bullhorn while chanting “People over profit” and other slogans.

San Francisco resident Sanjay Garla, who was a part of the protest, said he wants to bring awareness to what he called the “true costs” of the iPhone.

“What tech is doing is creating this underclass where predominately people of color and immigrant workers are being pushed into these contracted out, low wage, dead end jobs,” he said. “This is having a huge impact on income inequality in the Bay Area.”

Garla said the protestors are not telling people not to buy Apple products, but they want Apple employees to get wage increases, access to full-time work, access to benefits and access to healthcare for their families.

“While there are huge profits being made with the iPhone, even a small fraction of that would really lift security officers and other service workers out of poverty in a huge way,” he said. “All we are asking Apple to do is to be a leader and take that leadership role and give people a leg up, give people an opportunity and give people a share of that wealth. This is not an issue of resources, it’s an issue of will.”

Despite the protest, the atmosphere surrounding the release was light.

Customers brought portable chairs to set up in the lines, and at least a dozen store employees were outside to offer assistance and pass out water bottles.

Miner said it wasn’t hard to keep occupied for the nearly 12 hours he spent in line.

“We sleep, drink wine and eat,” he said laughing.

Dennis Culver, Bay City News

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