Verizon iPhone Lines Inversely Proportional to Verizon iPhone Rumors

Published on February 10, 2011
by John Paczkowski

After the nearly interminable buildup to the iPhone’s launch on Verizon–the years of anticipation, rumors and speculation–you’d think the device’s official debut would be given a fervid reception by the folks clamoring for it. You’d think eager buyers would be camping out in front of their local Apple Store. You’d think Verizon Stores would literally be overrun with frustrated AT&T iPhone users looking for relief.

But evidently that’s not the case.

Pre-orders were huge, of course, cutting down the need for people to go out to a store, so early reports from around the country revealed a far more sedate response to a long-awaited event that ironically seems pretty uneventful. Fifteen minutes before the the Verizon iPhone went on sale, there were just eight people in line at Apple’s flagship store in New York, according to CNNMoney. At a lower-Manhattan Verizon store, 21 people queued up to buy the iPhone.

The scene was largely the same around the country, according to other reports: 20 folks at a Gainesville Verizon Store, 10 at another in Plainview, a dozen in Milwaukee, a “few dozen” in Lincoln, Neb.,. And before you the blame cold temperatures for the modest turnout, consider this: The line in front of Apple’s Stockton Street flagship store in San Francisco this morning was just two people long. Said’s Marguerite Reardon, “Upon arriving here about five minutes (before the 7 a.m. opening of the store), there were literally more Apple Store employees, police officers and reporters–each–than people in line to buy iPhones.”

So, a pretty staid turnout for a device that’s generated such monomaniacal interest for so long. That said, it’s important to remember that Verizon isn’t launching the iPhone into a market with a vast untapped demand for it. In reality, most folks who absolutely had to have an iPhone bought one from AT&T. And those who refused to leave Verizon to do so likely pre-ordered one last week. In the end, the lines (or lack thereof) we’re seeing today have very little to do with how big a seller the iPhone will be for Verizon (and for proof of that, one need only look to foreign markets with multiple iPhone carriers). Sales estimates vary pretty widely, but many suggest Apple will sell between 9 million and 13 million iPhones through Verizon this year–a big boost no matter how you look at it. The big lines will return with the debut of iPhone 5.

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[Image Credit: Christine Bartolucci ]

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