CRYSTAL LAKE – About a dozen of Apple’s most loyal customers were lined up outside the Crystal Lake Best Buy on Friday to be the first to get their hands on the new iPhones.
Friday was the first day customers could buy the new iPhone 5S, which was not available for preorder. Also available was the cheaper iPhone 5C, which comes in different colors and was available for preorder. The Crystal Lake Best Buy opened two hours early to accommodate eager customers.
Despite the drizzling rain, several people camped out for hours before the store opened. The earliest was Prairie Grove resident Nick Vazquez, who took turns holding a place in line with two other friends since 8 p.m. Thursday.
“I do it for the fun of it,” Vazquez said. “It’s like a Black Friday kind of thing.”
The three friends traded shifts. One person stood in line from 8 p.m. to midnight, another from midnight to 4 a.m., and Vazquez took the home-stretch shift from 4 to 8 a.m.
Vazquez said it was exciting to be caught up in the iPhone frenzy, but ultimately he was there because he likes the quality of Apple products.
“The new iOS 7 is really awesome,” he said. “The dual core chip in it is really good. It’s a great phone. I’m a full Apple user, so everything syncs together nicely, which is what really matters to me.”
Near Vazquez in line was 66-year-old Greg Glemza. The Woodstock resident arrived at Best Buy at 6 a.m. to buy his first-ever smartphone.
“It’s my first experience really of standing in line for any type of product like this,” said Glemza, adding that he wanted to make sure he got a phone early before they ran out.
“The No. 1 thing is that it’s, hopefully, top of technology for Apple and a lot of the phones out there,” Glemza said. “I’m sort of a camera buff, but I don’t always carry my camera with me. So that’s an added bonus.”
Maddison Matthei walked up just as the doors were opening at Best Buy and was looking for a new iPhone after she broke her’s a few weeks ago. She really likes the new finger print security feature, but what made her decide to purchase it right as the store opened?
“Because I’m 16, and I don’t really go a long time without a phone. I wanted it as early as possible,” she said.
Best Buy General Manager Duke Mkrdichian said he was happy with the early turnout Friday, and said that the iPhone seems to draw people to Best Buy unlike any other product.
“Consumers who have had Apple products, they’re pretty loyal Apple consumers,” Mkrdichian said. “They love the new finger print security. They love the new improvements they made on the camera.
“Whenever the new iPhone products come out, the apple fans come out. They want the first dibs on it.”
Jeff Prough was one of the people trading shifts Thursday night and Friday morning with Vazquez and said the late-night camping was “obviously quite excessive” since the next person in line didn’t arrive until 5 a.m. But he was buying the phone for his wife and wanted to make sure it didn’t run out.
“Gotta love your wife,” he said.