PARKERSBURG - As the iPhone 5 went on sale to the public Friday morning, local stores and customers reported a high level of interest in the latest version of the popular cellphone.
The new smartphone was available through a variety of venues, from electronics stores to telephone stores to department stores.
When Parkersburg resident Jason Harmon visited the AT&T store on Murdoch Avenue early Friday afternoon, he already had his new iPhone and was looking for a new case and other accessories.
Michael Caplinger of Parkersburg examines his new iPhone 5 on Friday afternoon at the AT&T store on Murdoch Avenue in Parkersburg. (Photo by Wayne Towner)
"I ordered online the day that it became available to order," he said, adding, "It came on my doorstep today. I haven't even taken it out of the box yet."
Harmon said he was looking forward to giving the new phone a try after getting good service from his iPhone 4.
"I loved every part of it," Harmon said of his iPhone experiences.
Jeff Stalcup, area manager with AT&T, said he had been to stores in Athens and Parkersburg on Friday and saw a lot of interest in the new phone.
"I think this one is the best iPhone yet and I'm glad they came here because AT&T is the No. 1 choice for customers when choosing a smartphone and iPhone is definitely one of those," he said.
Stalcup said the stores he visited Friday were busy, with a steady stream of customers throughout the day. He was in Athens for Friday morning's opening and saw a line of people waiting to get in doors opened. He was told the same thing happened at the Murdoch Avenue location as well.
"It's nothing new. It happens every year that the iPhone comes out," Stalcup said.
He described the level of interest he saw as "age-agnostic," with people of all ages expressing interest in the new phone.
"I think everyone is just excited to see it live and in person, so they had their first shot at that (Friday)," he said.
Michael Caplinger of Parkersburg was at the AT&T store to buy his new iPhone on Friday afternoon, replacing his iPhone 4S. He has been using the Apple products for about two years, because of his interest in the phones' operating systems and services, especially the apps.
Caplinger said he has used both iPhones and other types of smartphones over the years, but he is a loyal Apple customer now and will remain with the iPhone in the future.
Logan Wright of Parkersburg also preordered his iPhone 5 and was looking for accessories Friday after it arrived by mail.
"I haven't even picked it up at my house yet," he said Friday afternoon at AT&T. "I traded in my (old) phone here to pay for the case."
"It was very busy, especially this morning," Jason Varner, retail store manager for the Verizon Wireless store at Murdoch and Emerson avenues in Parkersburg, said Friday afternoon. "We had several people waiting outside, waiting to come in. We opened an hour early in anticipation of a big launch."
Varner said he has worked at the store for some time and has seen other Apple and iPhone product rollouts like Friday's event. He thought the level of customer interest Friday was on the same level and possibly higher than he has seen in the past.
The Verizon store sells a variety of product lines, including many non-Apple products, and the interest level is about the same for many of them, he said.
"There's a lot of interest in all of the phones. It's really just a matter of opinion as far as our customers go. We have a lot of customers who like the Android platform and a lot of customers who like the Apple platform. It really is just a personal taste and preference," Varner said.