Metro Phoenix Apple fans got up early Friday to queue up for the new iPhone 4S, which went on sale at 8 a.m. Others beat the crowds and ordered one in advance.
Photos: iPhone 4S sales begin
Paul Williams said about 30 people were waiting at the Verizon corporate store at 16th Street and Camelback Road when he opened up an hour early at 8 a.m.
A similar number of people were waiting outside the AT&T store across the street.
The phone went on sale worldwide Friday and was met with unprecedented demand. Lines formed outside the retailers selected to carry the products, and many quickly ran out.
Analysts estimate that Apple Inc. could sell between 3 million and 4 million of the new phones through Sunday, easily topping the 1.7 million iPhone 4 units that were sold the first weekend after its release last year.
The iPhone 4S, one of the last products developed under Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, was an initial disappointment to analysts who were expecting the iPhone 5.
But the more powerful 4S phone with a new camera and Siri voice-controlled software got an unexpected boost from Jobs' death on Oct 5.
"(The) 4S is for Steve," said Dan Cortez of Phoenix, who was in line midday Friday outside at the Apple Store at Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix. "We wouldn't be waiting in line for the phone without Steve."
The latest product drew diehard Apple fans who clamor for the latest version of the company's products, along with first-time buyers who became acquainted with the company and its products after Jobs died of complications from pancreatic cancer.
Lera Allen of Phoenix was shopping for her first Apple product at Best Buy in Phoenix on Friday.
"I really didn't know much about Apple until he died," she said of Steve Jobs. "It made me want to try their products."
David Moreno of Phoenix was at Best Buy on Friday to replace his iPhone 4 with the 4S.
"It's scratched," he said, holding up his old phone.
Moreno has owned every version of the iPhone, along with an iPod and numerous iPads and MacBooks.
"I'm a huge fan," he said. "I have to have the latest version."
The new phones are available at Apple Stores, Best Buy, Walmart and other select retailers, in addition to Verizon, AT&T and Sprint outlets.
This is the first iPhone available from the Sprint Nextel network.
The 4S' $200 starting price for 16 gigabytes also appealed to many returning and first-time Apple customers.
Molly Walsh, who waited to buy an iPhone 4S at the Phoenix Apple Store on Friday, said her existing iPhone "died" the night before.
"I could have replaced it for $149 or got the 4S for $199," she said. "It was a no-brainer."
A more powerful 32-gigabyte phone is $300, and the 64-gigabyte phone costs $400.
by Max Jarman The Arizona Republic Oct. 14, 2011 04:20 PM
Apple fans line up for iPhone 4S