The iPhone 5 wait continues: Lines begin forming at New York Apple Store [UPDATED]

iPhone 5 lineFor iPhone 5 fans, September 12 was not the end of the long wait before Apple finally announced the official details and specs of its latest smartphone. Instead, the even longer wait has just begun. Die-hard customers have already formed a line outside of the Apple flagship store in New York City on 5th Avenue, hoping to be one of the first in the nation to get their hands on the shiny new Apple toy.

iphone 5 line 2It was a gloomy Tuesday afternoon, four days before the iPhone 5 is slated for release, but fans have all come prepared with fold out chairs, rain coats, windbreakers, snacks, and of course, their iPads and MacBooks in hand. The line didn’t stretch very far — just from the front of the Apple Store entrance to the corner of the same block with approximately 10 to 15 people in line. I stopped by yesterday to speak to some of the more committed fans, but found a different guy at the very front of the than what CNET has reported. Perhaps he was sitting in place of Hazem Sayed who was reportedly first to snag a spot on the line, and came to gain some publicity for his social media app Vibe.

“I’ve been here since Sunday,” John Mcintosh, the ironically-named temporary replacement for Sayed, says. This would make him behind third-in-line Jessica Mellow who USA Today reported has been there since Thursday. It might be possible that these guys are switching waiting shifts to alleviate the pain of sitting out in the windy weather, awaiting the New York storm due to arrive that night.

I spoke to an Apple Store representative who confirms there are no policies against fans waiting this early but they do not have plans to provide them with water, umbrellas, or shelter should the storm become wild.

Apple New York iPhone 5 line 3Many tourists stopped by the Apple Store for pictures with the die-hard fans, some requesting to sit in the first seat and hold up an iPad that reads “1st in line for iPhone 5” — a prop Sayed was also seen holding in coverages by other media outlets. For Mcintosh, he says the experience is a good way to get out of the house, do something different, and meet like-minded people who are as adventurous as he is. Unsurprisingly, Mcintosh is currently unemployed so the wait is a fun way to kill time and gain a bit of local publicity from passing tourists. “There’s a lot of cool people on line,” he says. “That’s really the best part.”

But is Mcintosh actually impressed with iPhone 5 so much so that the product drove him to wait almost a week before the product launched? “I don’t know, I guess we’ll see,” he says, noting that he may buy more than one and sell them if he finds that he doesn’t enjoy using the iPhone 5. Mcintosh currently does not own an iPhone but aims to buy the new Apple product under the Sprint network.

As for the impending storm slated to hit New York City that night? The young hopeful doesn’t seem too phased.

“Yeah, shucks,” he says. “I’m just gonna finally get a shower.”

[UPDATE 09/20/12]

I stopped by Wednesday afternoon to check up on how our brave souls fared over Tuesday night’s storm. This time, Hazem Sayed was back on the first seat still promoting Vibe and I got a chance to chat with Mellow who remained in her third place seat. 

“It rained really hard. Luckily, the night before it was raining we rented a car and parked it across the street,” Mellow says, snug in her down feather jacket and clutching her Kindle Fire. “We took turns holding down the tarps over everything and rotating off and on.”

Jessica Mellow iPhone 5 line

Mellow also said she offered a few people in line a spot in their rental car to shield from the rain, while others found shelter in the Apple Store — which is conveniently opened for 24 hours. Still, the storm did not faze the young freelance writer who said she’s been through worse waits previous years, offering this advice for those who are thinking about joining in on the Apple product release waiting experience.

“You have to be open-minded,” she says. “You have to be willing to take criticisms for it because we’re getting a lot of it. You have to go in with the mentality of having fun, participating in a tradition. It’s about the comradery; you meet new people and enjoy being part of something that most people won’t get the chance.”