More than 1,200 shoppers seeking the latest version of the iPhone waited on lengthy lines for the Apple Store to open at the Roosevelt Field mall Thursday, tired and antsy but undeterred by the long wait.
Many of them were frustrated at being unable to order it online last week and came out to Garden City the night before the launch or in the wee hours of the morning to buy it.
Apple stores worldwide began selling the iPhone 4 Thursday. AT&T, the phone's exclusive U.S. carrier, and Apple fielded more than 600,000 pre-orders before halting sales. AT&T expects to offer the phone in its stores and online June 29.
The possibility of waiting a few more days for the phone was unthinkable for most.
"I don't want to wait. I want it now," said Alexis Moraga, 34, of Hempstead, who had not pre-ordered an iPhone. She arrived at 4 a.m. and was still waiting on her folding chair at about 12:30 p.m. "I had the 3GS, but I sold it to get this one. This one has more features."
Buyers, some from Queens, continued to join the line throughout the day, but first-day sales were not without glitches.
According to the tech-device blog Gizmodo, users have posted Internet videos demonstrating trouble with the iPhone 4's new antenna. The phone signal drops out when users cover the bottom left corner of the device with their palm to make a call, according to the videos.
In addition, the blog said more than 50 users reported screen issues involving a yellow bar, yellow blotches or a constellation of white spots.
Apple employees at Roosevelt Field divided buyers into lines for those with pre-orders and those without. Though buyers said they expected a wait, it lasted longer for some than expected.
Nancy Leshaw, 47, of Lynbrook, came with her 14-year-old nephew and a close family friend at 6:50 a.m. with plans to head to the beach in the late morning.
"I thought it would be an easy wait and we'd go to the beach," said her nephew, Jason Roman, 14, of Baldwin. They had progressed from the parking garage to a line in the mall. "But it turned out that we didn't get out of the garage until 10:30."
Nassau County police said extra protective details had been put in place in Roosevelt Field and the Americana shopping center in Manhasset. Suffolk police had an officer check on the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, but there were no issues, police said. There is also an Apple location in the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station.
Only the black model of the phone was available Thursday. Apple said its white version is more challenging to make than expected, and wouldn't be available until the last two weeks of July.
"I hear nothing but good stuff about the iPhone," he said.
With John Valenti