Unknown-3Today is the day that the new iPhones hit retail shelves, and with Apple opting to not let people pre-order the iPhone 5s this time around, it meant that I'd be playing the "wait in line game" at my local Apple store. I've done the whole waiting in line overnight thing for Apple devices before, and while it can be kind of fun, it's certainly lost a lot of its luster the past couple of times I've done it.

With both the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini, and if memory serves me the iPhone 4s as well, I've enjoyed pre-ordering online and having a delivery person drop the new device right on the doorstep of my warm, comfortable, bathroom-and-refrigerator-having apartment. Sure, I'm getting the device a bit later in the day than if I would have waited in line at a store, but that's a small price to pay for a decent night's sleep and the comforts of home.

But, that wasn't an option this time, so out in the cold and still night I went. My local Apple Store is in Santa Rosa, CA and I arrived at just after 5am to see some people already camped out, but not too many. I was the 23rd person in line. Apple was gearing up to open early at 8am, and since this Apple Store is in a mall we were all waiting on a sidewalk along the mall building. At around 7am the mall opened up for us, where we were led to another (much warmer) line just outside the store. All in all two hours out in the cold wasn't so bad, and it sounds like I had a much more pleasant time than Eli did.

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The store opened up at 8am on the dot and actually buying my iPhone 5s was a quick process. I was gunning for the black–err, space grey model to begin with, and there were ample supplies of those for every carrier and in every storage size. As you've likely heard on the Internet all day, those looking for the gold or silver models were largely out of luck. I was 23rd in line and every version of both gold and silver was gone by the time they got to me to ask which model I wanted.

While buying the phone itself was easy, activating it was not. For whatever reason, the iPhone 5s would not play nice with the SIM card from my iPhone 5. Maybe Verizon's servers were just getting hammered today, maybe the SIM itself is bunk, but after more than an hour of several Apple employees and a Verizon rep trying everything they could to get it to activate, I said "nuts to this!" and took off with my new phone unactivated. Essentially, I bought a very expensive iPod touch with a fingerprint sensor. Hopefully I can get that sorted out in the next day or two.

As for the iPhone 5s hardware itself, well, it's hardly much different from that of the iPhone 5. The size, weight, and "feel" are all roughly the same, and since I adore how the iPhone 5 feels that's not a bad thing at all. As mentioned, the new black is actually space grey, and indeed the anodized part of the aluminum and the outside edge of the phone are much more grey than the iPhone 5's "slate" color. To be honest, I kind of prefer the darker slate color of the iPhone 5, but the space grey does look very nice, and gives me a heavy "OG iPhone" vibe which I like. The outer ring, though, I definitely prefer with the more silvery grey of the iPhone 5s, and it looks damn classy looking at the phone's face straight on. This, like all Apple products, is an elegant piece of kit.

The other major change in the iPhone 5s aside from its color is the new home button and its much ballyhooed Touch ID fingerprint sensor. I was bummed to see that the home button is no longer emblazoned with the iconic rounded square that's graced every iPhone to date, but the button itself is much more sturdy and "clicky" than previous versions. That was one element of the iPhone that always felt sort of cheap to me, but not here.

So overall my iPhone-getting experience was pretty good, and while the hardware doesn't feel all that different than the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s is a beautiful device that I can't wait to spend hours upon hours gaming on. Speaking of which, my new iPhone is still syncing, so I'll be back soon with some impressions on what playing games on the new device is like.

  • IMNS

    I hate you Jared Nelson.

    • thecool111

      Why?

      • IMNS

        He has an iPhone 5s and I don't :(

      • Sanuku

        You will get it in a couple of Weeks or Months too so spare your hate for all those Developers & Publishers that don`t support till then the native Resolution of the iPhone 5s since the among of those that are still don`t supporting the iPhone 5 is more then I could think of :(

      • IMNS

        No! Jared Nelson will receive the whole wrath of my hatred all alone. I hope he falls off the stairs and breaks a leg or two.
        Or worse still, he accidentally shaves off a huge part of his beard!!!

      • Sanuku

        Stop it! I can understand that you want to see his bones broken but...his beard is for god's sake beyond what is decent.

  • Ava1on

    I was first in line at Verizon in my mall. I got there at 6:00 AM and got a phone at 8:00. The Apple Store line was over 100 deep when I got there. Did I miss something? Why do people camp out at the Apple store overnight when they can go to a phone retailer and get the same phone?

    • {SQUEEK}

      Why do people wait in line at all?

      • Ava1on

        Limited supply and I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow so I wanted to get my phone before I leave the country.

      • mikeg1234

        Because there were no pre-orders for the 5s. Online orders basically went straight to showing 7-10 days. My wife ordered online this morning (she wanted gold) and it just said "sometime in October", and from what I can tell that means at least 3-4 weeks.

        I did the same thing as Ava1on -- went to AT&T at the mall (*gasp* the horror of going to the mall) at 7am, and I was like 15th in line. As soon as they opened at 8am, I had my space gray 64GB 5S in hand. I felt bad for the hundreds in line at the Apple Store next door.

        Pretty painless process for me.

    • Alan Baldwin

      In Denver they received TWO (2) Gold Verizon iPhones (and no other gold) total at the store, and ONE silver total. If you wanted a space grey all along, it probably would have made sense. But if you wanted anything else, get in line at the apple store.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    It doesn't come in black!? You've gotta be kidding. That's actually almost a dealbreaker for me.

    • raviadso

      There still is a black. Only part of the back of the device is slate so they call it gray.

  • Eidaven

    I called just about every store in town and nobody had white or gold iPhone. Only space gray. Even my Apple store only got a few in stock. I don't know what they were thinking. They must have had production problems.

    I got one at Walmart this morning. I got there an hour early just in case. Got it! Not much of a line at all. Plus, I got it for $189.

    This is a nice phone. The fingerprint scanner works flawlessly. I'm very impressed. The slow motion video is pretty cool too. I can't wait to get some time to dive into a few games. IB3, here I come!

  • rewyan

    The fingerprint scanner doesn't seem like a very secure and efficient way to lock your iPhone. First of all, someone with a similar fingerprint could probably get into the phone. Secondly, if you're letting someone else use it, you'd have to physically unlock it for the person. It's especially an issue for parents wanting to be able to get into their children's devices.

    So overall, I like the idea of a fingerprint scanner, but I hope Apple uses it for something better in the future. It's a good idea to test it now, though, and see if it works well as a passcode.

    • IMNS

      I may be wrong but I think there's better chance of someone guessing your password in 1st try than their finger prints matching yours.

      Also, you can't just set up finger print as the unlock option. You have to add a passcode too as a backup when you setup the fingerprint unlock. So that point is moot too.

      I don't have the 5s yet but from what I've heard and read online, it works not just as good but better than the passcode. It's faster, simpler easier and more secure than your average password.

    • valkuryn

      What the one in a 64 billion chance of someone else having the same finger print as you? Twins can't even have identical fingerprints.

      • Eidaven

        This is correct. I am an identical twin. We are identical in almost every way, DNA, birthmarks, etc. We can share organs without rejection, but guess what...? We have different fingerprints.

        Someone having the same fingerprints as you is nearly impossible. If it were common to have the same fingerprints as someone else do you really think they could use a fingerprint as evidence to convict someone in court?

        Either way, like the guy said earlier, you still have the option to use the passcode. So your entire argument doesn't make sense.

      • sHTiF

        Thats all true however the scanner doesnt compare finger print to finger print with 100% accuracy it matches just some patterns.

    • ZarieoZ

      Seriously!!!! First of all, Finger prints are like DNA no one has a similar fingerprint to one another. Second of all, there is an option to have it know several fingers & use any of those, so a mother can have one of her child's fingers saved. Finally, I'd prefer to unlock it for every single person instead of having them looking into my stuff, plus that's already what I do now with my password, the difference is that a fingerprint will be much faster, and for the people who look at me while writing my password will be out of luck.

      You should think about it again, because none of what you said is valid.

  • scrotally

    I can't believe people still wait in lines to buy shit.

    • Jake7905

      I do it at Starbucks every day.

  • vic_viper_001

    I'm surprised by some of the news articles I'm reading about the 5s. Sometimes it sounds like I'm reading Onion news. There's people getting in phone brawls, and paying the homeless to wait in line for them. That's true addiction!

  • NeonGreenKermit

    Waiting in line is fun, but I'm kinda almost grown up now with a job, wife and a kid, so

    • NeonGreenKermit

      ...damn post button...

      ...so that's not an option for me these days. Got a 5C delivered to my door, and couldn't be happier, but if I were going 5S (and the contract prices here in the UK are just insane), I'd at least go for a carrier store.

  • Poo

    I don't have an upgrade until iphone 6. So while I'm jealous of the faster hardware I can wait.

    • Josh Reynolds

      At least by the time you have an upgrade there will be more native 64-bit apps and the A8 will probably be considerably better.

  • macatron

    My buying experience went pretty smooth as well. I got to my local AT&T store around 7:00am, and I was number 11 in line. The manager announced that they only had 10 16GB 5S's and 10 32GB 5S's (no 64GB at all). He also said that none of the other AT&T stores in the area got the 64GB models either. So, although I was a little bummed about not getting exactly what I wanted, I made it out of there with two 32GB, space grey 5S's (one for me and the wife). Plus, being that I upgraded from an iPhone 4, this 5S feels like alien technology. :D

    • mikeg123

      I guess all of the 64GB models went to my area. The AT&T store I went to had 10 16GB, 30 32GB, and 40 64GB. Interesting to hear how different each store is.

  • Doc Robby

    Did he say 'adore'?

    Just giving you a hard time Jared. ;)

  • Rob L

    You didn't say much about actually using the phone.... I was already prepped to not feel that impressed with the new phone over my 5. However; the phone is MUCH faster than the 5, texts and pictures messages have 0 lag time when sending... processing of images and compression are so much faster! Overall I ended up being very happy about my purchase. The fingerprint thing isn't blowing my mind or anything, but the slow-mo camera is very cool to play with.

  • titan908

    What if someone just chops off ur thumbs now ill be mugged and thumbless :(

  • newjorg

    I'm in the UK. Ordered my phone from O2 online on Friday. Will be delivered to my door on Monday. How it should be.

    • iarepan

      I was under the impression that next to talking about the weather, waiting in queues is the British national pastime. ;)

      • tomchap

        And holding doors open for people, not complaining about things oh and drinking tea!

  • Endscrypt

    Ordered my iphone5s space grey from Vodafone on Friday morning recieved a email that night saying that my iPhone 5s Silver would be dispatched for delivery on Monday! So I had to call up Vodafone "again" to tell them I hadn't ordered it in silver but in space grey, so then I had to cancel the order and then reorder,so I canceled my order to then be informed that I could not re-order my iPhone 5s until the cancelation was over 24 hrs, at this point I demanded to speak to someone with a brain this time! But unfortunately for me this is the rule, no order till after 24hrs after the cancelation. So now I've to call them again tomorow just to verify my order and they have promised that my space grey will still arrive on the same day I can't work out how that would be possible! Usual Vodafone as far as I'm concerned never managed to get an iPhone with in the first few days from Vodafone they always manage to fook it some how! 15 year old customer by the way?

  • Taeles

    Every time I read the specs for this phone I have to force myself to be patient, for I want these specs... Or better... In the ipad5 :)

  • KusanagiShiro

    Damn he's like 30 miles from me!

  • mutts

    Why anyone would wait inline for a Smartphone is beyond me.
    To me it is borderline pathetic. I have a 4s and can wait a couple of months for a new one, in fact i can wait another year. The 4s is still working and I like it's design and size.

    • mikeg1234

      Well aren't you special.