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iPhone 4S makes its way to the Crossroads area

By ALLISON MILES
Oct. 14, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

Saleswoman Fawn Gokey offers doughnuts and beverages to about 30 customers who waited for the release of the iPhone 4S at the AT&T store on North Navarro Street. New version of the iPhone 4 runs $199 and boasts a few improvements.

What's new?

Siri: Assistant app that understands voice commands and questions and acts on them, scheduling meetings, searching for restaurants and more.

Dual-core A5 chip: Provides two times the power of other iPhones and up to seven times faster graphics.

Updated camera features: Includes eight-megapixel resolution, larger aperture, updated video recording capabilities and more.

iOS 5 operating system: Comes with more than 200 new features, ranging from a notification center to new mobile apps. Updates to iOS 5 are available for other iPhone models, too.

iCloud: Stores users' photos, videos, music and pushes it to other devices, so it's available anywhere the user goes.

Source: Apple.com

A good night's sleep is important, but sometimes other things take precedence. At least, that was the case for Sterling Lykes, who headed up the line outside Victoria's AT&T store, 6308 N. Navarro St., Friday morning.

The 14-year-old arrived at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, equipped with blankets, snacks, computer and, of course, mom.

He wanted to be among the first to receive the new iPhone 4S. Lucky for him, he and other students from St. Joseph High School had the day off .

"God wants me to have this phone," he said.

The iPhone 4S comes equipped with several new features, according to Apple's website. Those include a new dual-core chip, upgraded camera functions and the iOS 5 operating system.

It's the Siri personal assistant app, which allows users to ask questions, set reminders and more - all through voice command - that Sterling was most interested in.

"This is the first time a machine can actually understand what you're saying and act on it," he said. "I really want to try it out."

He wasn't the only one anxious for Apple's latest release.

AT&T's line stretched to the building's edge while, farther up the road, a small crowd gathered outside Verizon Wireless, 8706 N. Navarro St.

Victoria police officer Isaac Ramirez arrived at Verizon at 6:30 a.m. and was among those in line when doors opened at 8 a.m. Although he owned previous smartphones, it was his first iPhone.

He said he was excited about the purchase and had already begun testing the phone's features as he went to leave the store.

"I'll be playing with this all day," he said.

Verizon urged customers to preregister for their phones earlier in the week to make sure they had enough in stock Friday, said Peter Lai, a data sales engineer with the company who lives in the Dallas area.

The company did not release sales numbers Friday, he said, but they will be included in an earnings report released Oct. 21.

Sprint did not release sales numbers either, but in a company news release, Sprint Product Chief Fared Adib said the iPhone release came in as the company's best ever day of retail, web and telesales for a device family. The company hit the milestone about noon.

AT&T could not release sale numbers or the quantity of phones inside the store either, said Melissa Hale, an area retail sales manager with the company. Oftentimes, she said, the company does not know quantity, because shipments arrive throughout the day.

Hale said the chillier-than-usual morning meant for a comfortable iPhone release. Usually, she said, they occur during June or July, which means hot conditions for those camping out.

AT&T employees on Friday offered up water, orange juice and doughnuts to those outside.

"Anybody want a doughnut?" an employee asked, walking past the line. When no one responded, it was Ken Patel, who had been in line since 7:30 a.m., who offered an explanation.

"I think everybody's hungry for an Apple," he said with a smirk.

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