Durham, N.C. — Jonathon Myers waited in line at the Apple store in Durham for his iPhone 5 for 58 hours.
A clerk at the store, in the Streets of Southpoint mall, finally gave Myers the coveted device at 8:05 a.m. Friday.
"Apple employees started coming in, congratulating me, shaking my hand," Myers said. "They all came out and had a meeting and congratulated me. They were really happy and excited for me."
Myers was among hundreds of people who waited in long lines at stores across the Triangle for the iPhone 5, which went on sale at 8 a.m. Friday.
Apple received 2 million pre-orders of the iPhone 5 within the first 24 hours of pre-orders going online last week, twice the amount of orders for the iPhone 4S during the same period one year ago. Less than 24 hours after pre-orders began, shipping dates for the phones were pushed back two to three weeks from the Sept. 21 release date.
Analysts estimate that Apple will ship up to 10 million iPhone 5s by the end of September. J.P. Morgan Chase estimates that sales from the iPhone 5 will give the U.S. economy a $3.2 billion boost this quarter.
But the facts and figures were secondary for customers like Myers, who couldn't wait to own the sleek new phone.
The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter and has a taller screen than its predecessor.
"They went taller, so I can still hold it with one hand, and text with one hand and not two, which I like," Myers said. "I don't want a miniature tablet in my pocket."
The phone also has a faster processor and updated software, and it is compatible with the faster "fourth generation" mobile networks.
"You're really looking at Internet on your phone at Wi-Fi and broadband speed when you're mobile." Michael Sanders of the AT&T store at Cary Towne Center said.
For many consumers, the iPhone 5 is the last connection to iconic Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011.
"It's not even just about the phone," Myers said. "It's the fact that this one of the last products that Steve Jobs worked on before he passed away."
The iPhone 5 starts at $199 for customers who agree to a two-year contract with a wireless service provider. The iPhone 4S can be now be purchased for lower prices, starting at $99 from the Apple Store.
On Sept. 28, the iPhone 5 will go on sale in 22 more countries. By the end of 2012, the phone will be on sale in over 100 countries.