The next generation iPhone is coming out later this week and there are a handful of places near Albany and Berkeley to buy it.
The Apple website points customers to the following locations:
- AT&T, 3060 El Cerrito Plaza, 510-528-9264 (Staffer: "We should have some in stock, we don't know how many.")
- Verizon Wireless, 410 El Cerrito Plaza, 510-526-4573 (Staffer: "I'm pretty sure there's going to be a line in the morning. Right now—Wednesday, 6 p.m.—there's no line.")
- Apple Store 4th Street, 510-898-3341 (Staffer: "We are expecting huge crowds on Friday. Last year we had people lined up at 6 p.m. on Thursday night. Who knows what will happen this year?")
- AT&T (Berkeley), 2180 Shattuck Ave., 510-486-0668 (Doors open at 8 a.m.; expecting a line but the same amount of staffing as usual)
- Verizon Wireless , 2209 Shattuck Ave., 510-845-4282 (Couldn't reach a store representative.)
The smartphone officially goes on sale Sept. 21 at 8 a.m., but all stores may not stock the iPhone 5 immediately.
According to a Target salesperson in Albany, the store won't know until Thursday night whether it will have the phone available for sale Friday morning.
A representative at the Radioshack in Albany said the shop would be a week or two weeks behind in stocking the phone; he said some customers plan to pick up pre-orders from the store Friday, but otherwise he isn't expecting to have it on hand.
A staffer at the Berkeley Radioshack, 2500 Shattuck Ave., said he expected to begin carrying the iPhone 5 within about three weeks.
See if another store near you is selling the phones using this tool on Apple’s website. You can search for both Apple stores and other retailers. Read carefully because not all stores listed carry phones. Make sure to select "iPhone" from the "Products" drop-down menu. You may want to call local stores to confirm you'll be able to find what you're looking for.
Bay Area representatives for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have said their stores will open at 8 a.m. Friday to service customers.
AT&T spokesman John Britton said AT&T security would be “beefed up” and stores would be “staffed to the max” to get people through the expected wait as fast and efficiently as possible. He said the demand can be somewhat unpredictable.
“You can never say for sure if there are going to be lines. Some of the launches have had more people waiting than others,” said Britton. “One year they started forming at 3 o’clock in the afternoon the day before.”
He said the largest line he could recall drew 130 people to wait outside a San Francisco store in the Financial District.
Britton also noted that this will be AT&T’s sixth iPhone launch since 2007, when the company initially was the only cell provider to offer the model.
“We've been through this before,” he said. “We’re ready.”
Verizon spokeswoman Heidi Flato said its stores would "be fully staffed with trained sales reps available to assist customers on Friday."
She encouraged customers to use the online pre-order process to avoid waiting in line but added, via email, "we are prepared to handle additional foot traffic at our retail locations when iPhone 5 becomes available on September 21."
A Sprint representative did not respond to requests about how its stores were preparing for the sale.
The new iPhone is thinner and lighter than the last two generations, but it is taller to accommodate a bigger screen. Apple says its processing speed is much faster than its predecessors, as well.
The iPhone 5 starts at $649, but the price can come down to as low as $200 with a cellular plan subscription.
iPhone 5 sales could boost economic growth in the U.S. by a third of a percentage point during the fourth quarter, J.P.Morgan anticipates. However, NPR's Planet Money says J.P.Morgan's analysis is faulty, predicting that most who splurge on the new product before the end of the year will likely cut back on other spending, making it a zero-sum game.
Know other stores near Albany that carry the iPhone? Are you planning to queue up? Is the whole thing over-hyped? Leave a comment below to let us know.
- Will You Jump on the iPhone 5 Bandwagon?