10 years later: Looking back on the iPhone’s release in Hudson County – NJ.com


It's hard to believe that 10 years have passed since the first iPhone was released.

Today, the Apple smartphone is ubiquitous. Anywhere you go, you're likely to hear its signature ringtone. In fact, as of March, more than 700 million iPhones were in use worldwide, according to Fortune.

While the novelty of these brilliant devices has surely worn off, that hasn't stopped droves of techies from lining up at stores whenever a new generation becomes available.

That of course was the case on June 29, 2007, when the iPhone first hit the shelves. To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the popular smartphone that has since become a global staple, here's a look at how The Jersey Journal covered the much-anticipated release:

Scores of technophiles thronged to the AT&T store on Washington Street yesterday for the much-hyped "world premier" of the Apple iPhone – the combination cellphone, iPod and high-speed Internet device expected to do just about everything for its users short of making toast and washing the dishes.

The atmosphere was congenial at the front of the line just before the store reopened at 6 p.m. to sell the new gadget. About 75 people were lined up waiting to get into the store, some of whom had been there close to eight hours.

Mark Tyler, who paid a friend $100 to hold his place as first in line from 10 a.m. until he arrived around 5:30 p.m., said it was another addition to his collection of high-tech wares.

"I like new toys, " said Tyler, who also bought the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii game systems the first day they came out.

Ian Chabal, who works at a Hoboken-based financial firm, cut out of work early, he said, only to run into his boss on line.

"I kind of didn't tell my boss I was leaving, " said Chabal, who was fourth in line and got his phone while his boss was still outside waiting.

Some passersby were confused by the mob congregating on the sidewalk.

"This is just fascinating, " said Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, who was on his way to Friday evening services for members of his congregation, Chabad of Hoboken. "I would never wait in line for this. But if it's a good thing, why not have it sooner, right?"

The Hoboken store was one of three AT&T stores in Hudson County and 105 in the New York Metropolitan area to sell the iPhone yesterday.

Inside stores, customers encountered a display with two activated iPhones to tinker with before deciding whether to buy the device, which costs $499 with 4 GB of storage and $599 with 8 GB.

Shoppers were limited to one iPhone per person and had to wait until they got home to start using the phones.

"You buy it in the store and you activate it at home via your PC or Mac, " said AT&T spokeswoman Ellen Webner. "It's a little different for a wireless user, but very easy, very simplified."

Like the stores on Route 440 and at Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, the Hoboken store closed down at 4:30 p.m. to prepare for the crowd before reopening at 6.

Buzz about the iPhone began early in the day, according to employees at the Hoboken store.

"People call here asking about the iPhone every 20 seconds, " said store employee Emilio, who would only give his first name. "I've got iPhone coming out my ears."

Anyone who shows up at a store that is sold out of iPhones can leave a name and address and have one sent as soon as it becomes available, Webner said.

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