Dozens of people wait in line to be the first to purchase an iPhone at the AT&T store in Medford’s South Gateway Center. - Bob Pennell

iPhone, uPhone?

The first of about 80 people to line up outside the AT&T store in south Medford for the release of Apple's iPhone got there at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday — more than 24 hours before the device's release.

When D.J. Standifer, a recent graduate of North Medford High School, emerged from the store shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, he said he was relieved that his long wait, which included a mostly sleepless night, was over.

"There were power washers going off and trucks driving through," said Standifer, who spent the night waiting with his friend Skyler Mlasko. "I've been waiting for the phone since Steve Job's (Apple's CEO) keynote presentation back in January."

The AT&T store closed at 4:30 p.m. and then reopened an hour and a half later to sell the much-anticipated phone. By the time the store opened again, the line wrapped all the way around the building.

Mlasko, who joined Standifer at the front of the line, had a pair of black football pants on when he received his phone.

"I had to leave twice today for two football events," Mlasko said.

"My girlfriend held my place in the morning and my little brother did this afternoon. I had to hurry back from a 4:30 p.m. scrimmage."

The device, which comes in 4-gigabyte and 8-gigabyte versions and carries a price tag of $499 and $599, respectively, is being sold only at AT&T's corporate stores and Apple stores. With a minimum two-year agreement, and a monthly bill of at least $59.99, the iPhone will cost each of its purchasers about $2,000.

Dylan Hand of Ashland, who used his Apple MacBook and iPod while he waited in line, said the phone was worth its hefty price.

"I'm going to replace my iPod with it," Hand said. "I love everything Apple and I trust it in terms of interfaces."

The Medford store, managed by Kathy Galea, is the only retailer between Eugene and Redding that has the phone on hand.

Customers at the AT&T store were only allowed to purchase one phone each, while shoppers at Apple could buy two.

"It's going to revolutionize the way we use our cell phones," Galea said. "The phone interface is just so smooth, just like Apple computers."

Josh Christian, 35, of Medford waited in line on behalf of his employer, Valley Pawn and Trading Co. The company does the bulk of its business by purchasing heavily sought items and then reselling them on eBay.

"I've seen some of them selling for $2,000," Christian said. "I was doing some research online and talked to my boss about it and he gave me $600 to come down here."

Christian, who set up his blue lawn chair at 7:30 a.m., was on the clock while he waited for the phone.

"I'm out here getting paid today," Christian said Friday afternoon. "I'll also get a portion of whatever it sells for."

The gadget, which comes with a 3.5-inch display screen, combines the features of various products such as Apple's iPod, a cell phone, a personal data assistant and wireless Internet access. One of the new features that has consumers and reviewers excited is the lack of a keyboard, in favor of a touch-screen virtual keyboard.

"I'm excited for all of the features it provides," said Standifer, whose wait had been aided by his family. "My mom and sister work close by and they brought me breakfast this morning."

Galea said if her supply of the phone ran out late Friday, those who waited in line would get a number that could get them a phone through an Apple service called direct fulfill.

"They will send the phone directly to their houses and it will be much quicker than waiting for us to get another shipment in," Galea added.

All of the AT&T employees with their sights set on the new phone will have to wait until the consumer demand has been filled.

"I'll probably get one at that point," Galea said.

Reach intern Bob Albrecht at 776-8791 or e-mail

Share This Story