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Many brave the weather and long lines to buy Apple’s newest iPhone

Updated: 2013-09-21T05:14:13Z

By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON

The Kansas City Star

Caleb-Michael Files of Kansas City wanted to be the first in the area to own Apple’s newest iPhone.

So he arrived at the Apple Store on the Country Club Plaza at 2 p.m. Thursday to camp out.

Then the rain came.

“I was here through the storm last night and the hail,” Files said Friday. “It was cold and wet.”

But the wait was worth it.

“I’ve had the (iPhone) 4s for two years and I was ready for an upgrade,” Files said.

Long lines of people gathered outside Apple Stores worldwide to be among the first to get their hands on the new iPhone 5s. Stores opened at 8 a.m. for sales of the new smartphones. Many stores quickly sold out of some models.

The new iPhone 5s is being touted by Apple as the most forward-thinking iPhone yet. It has an 8-megapixel camera and technology that allows people to use their fingerprints to unlock their phones.

The company also introduced the cheaper iPhone 5c, which comes in several colors: green, blue, pink, yellow and white.

Kevin Fajt of Kansas City, North, arrived at 4 p.m. Thursday at Apple’s Plaza store.

“I wanted to say I had it before everyone else in Kansas City had it,” Fajt said.

Not everyone in line Friday morning was there to upgrade their iPhone. For Ronnie Morgan of Kansas City, North, it was a chance to get his first one.

“I’m doing a major upgrade,” said Morgan, who arrived at 5:30 a.m. and was 73rd in line. “This is going to be much faster and I’m going to be able to do more with it.”

Long lines of patient shoppers were the norm, but a fight did break out at an Apple Store in Pasadena, Calif. There were at least two arrests, police said.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said in a note to investors that he expects Apple to sell 5 million to 6 million iPhones, including pre-sale orders that started Sept. 13. GI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was more optimistic, estimating weekend sales of 6 million to 8 million.

But investors, like iPhone fans, may have to brace for disappointment. Tech news site AllThingsD.com reported that one U.S. network said it had a “grotesquely unavailable inventory” ahead of launch day, and things weren’t looking much better in the United Kingdom, where networks told the BBC there was a severe shortage of the iPhone 5s. Some analysts speculated that Apple was trying to foster demand for the cheaper 5c by slowing the supply of the 5s to stores.

Star news services contributed to this report. To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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