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Answering the call for the iPhone Long lines, enthusiasm mark launch in Valley



Published: Sat, June 30, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

By ANDREW GAUG

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN — Is all the hoopla over Apple’s iPhone justified?

Zach Drago, 16, of East Liverpool, thinks so, saying it is well worth the wait.

“I’m already a customer. I’m a Mac user,” he said.

Already impressed by his Apple devices — he has a Mac laptop and iPod — he said he expected no different from the iPhone.

The launch of the latest popular device had a long line of people waiting in Boardman.

More than 40 people outside of the AT&T store, 813 Boardman-Canfield Road, were waiting for the store manager to call them in.

Though the phone’s official nationwide launch didn’t occur until 6 p.m. Friday, people had been passing time sitting on fold-out chairs since Thursday.

The two people at the beginning of the line were Drago and Andrew McNicol, 16, also of East Liverpool. They had been waiting more than 24 hours in front of the store’s doors.

McNicol said although he had no interest in the device at first, Drago talked it up to him and now he had spent the last 24 hours waiting to buy it.

“The fact that it’s an iPod and a cell phone, that makes it worth it,” he said.

Others such as Jayare Cichanski, 25, of Canfield, and Stacey Montalvo, 31, Youngstown shared stories of the past day, comparing sunburns and talking about the phone.

Cichanski liked that it combined features from regular cell phones and the more computer-like Smartphones so he wouldn’t have to carry around two devices.

“It’s an all-in-one device — it’s convergence. Every component is extremely well-done,” he said.

Growing up with Apple computers, Montalvo said there was no way she’d miss out on the launch of their latest device.

“I took the day off work. The people there are tired of hearing me talk about the iPhone all the time,” she said with a laugh.

Internet appeal

While responses varied on why people waiting in line were about to pay $499 to $599 for a cell phone, one thing they could all agree on was the built-in Internet.

“I could be at work and go online” using the phone, Montalvo said.

Evan Egly, 22, Salem, who said he owns the Pizza Joe’s there, said since the business has no Internet access, the iPhone will come in handy.

While some were mesmerized by certain components of the iPhone, others, such as William Bailey, 24, Youngstown, were just amazed. “It’s space-age type stuff,” he said.

He said it would be a step above the Smartphone he was using.

“The fact that it’s a touch screen, that there’s no stylus. You just use your finger — I love it,” he said.

The phone was enough for Bailey to stay the night at the store, go to work the next morning while his girlfriend took his place, and come back directly after to wait another few hours.

“I’ve been saving up. It’s going to be worth it,” he said.

As the AT&T store owner announced the launch, blue and white balloons went sailing and the first eight customers were allowed in by security.

Adam Schwebel of Canfield was the first to come out of the store to show off his new device to the press.

As he held up the iPhone to turn it on, he could hardly contain his excitement.

“I’m almost shaking here,” he said. “I’ve been here since 8 o’clock this morning. But technically I’ve been waiting six months.”

McNicol shared the same sentiment of excitement as he held the sealed orange bag containing the iPhone package.

“I want to see it, but I’m afraid to take it out right now,” he said.

Others still waited in line, hoping their number would be called. But those who already bought the device were in a rush to get home and find out everything about it.

“I already downloaded all the software for it, now I just got to go home and hook this up,” McNicol said.

agaug@vindy.com


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