Will Darney waited in line overnight at Westfarms mall's Apple store to get a new gold iPhone 5S when the doors opened at 8 a.m.
But when, after 10 hours, he got to the counter, the store was out of that color.
He and a friend, Christian Robison, were among the first 10 people in line. They said they watched as three people ahead of them got two gold 5S phones apiece.
So they got the silver 5S instead, but the 64-gig version, the capacity they wanted. They were "pretty disappointed," Darney said. "Not totally, though."
In fact, Darney, said, "I'd do it again."
The iPhone 5S in the new gold color was in short supply all over, apparently. The online technology news site CNET reported that ship dates for online orders of the gold phone had slipped to October by 1 a.m. Friday.
Two teenagers, Nicholas Ochs and Dylan Calo, said they both wanted the gold phone as well, but they were about 50 people back and were told there was a limited supply.
They, too, said it was more important to get the top-of-the-line capacity, 64 gigs, than the color they wanted. They got the gray 5S instead.
"The new fingerprint technology is pretty cool," said Ochs, a student at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford.
An hour after the Apple store opened, at least 100 customers were still lined up outside waiting to get in.
Shortly before the opening, more than 150 people were for a first crack at the new technology, but new people were arriving all the time.
"There's something about being first to get new technology and talk about it in social media," said Robison, 35, of East Granby. He said he was second in line at the same store when the iPad 2 went on sale.
Darney, 23, of South Windham, was seventh in line Friday, having established his spot by arriving at 9:30 Thursday night.
It feels a little weird, he conceded. "It's just a phone," he said, "but it's what you have to do to get a popular phone. It's fun."
After waiting in line 12 hours to buy his "space gray" iPhone 5S, which went on sale at 8 a.m. Friday, Bill Aziz of Meriden was one of the first to emerge from the Westfarms Apple store with his reward in hand.
But he wasn't about to declare his visit a success.
Asked if the effort was worth it, he said, "I'll wait and see."
The Apple stores at Westfarms mall and on Broadway in New Haven opened at 8 a.m. — two hours early — to accommodate the crowds.
At 7 a.m., when the line at the Westfarms store extended down the second-floor corridor, Apple employees were handing out tickets to establish the line order and placing a sign in the store display window promoting the iPhone 5S. By 7:40 a.m., they were handing out hot coffee to customers in line.
Twenty-one-year-old Danishia Colon, who was in line to buy the silver 5S for her mom, said this was her first time waiting to buy a phone the moment it went on sale.
Su Wen, 40, or Hartford, arrived at 11 Thursday night and was about 20 people back, waiting for a 16-gig iPhone 5S — her first iPhone. She was holding a Samsung. "I'm looking forward to using the fingerprint technology," she said.
At the New Haven Apple store, people began lining up outside the Apple store about 7 p.m. Thursday. Twelve hours later, as the sun came up, the line ran down Broadway. Many sat in folding chairs. Some were in sleeping bags.
The iPhone sales were not limited to Apple stores, and lines at other sellers were considerably shorter. A spokeswoman at Westfarms mall said that, shortly before the 8 a.m. opening, the line at the AT&T store had 15 people, and the lines at the Verizon, Spring and T-Mobile stores each had even fewer people than that.
At the Westfarms AT&T store, all the employees were dressed in black mock turtlenecks, wore glasses, and had a name tag that said "Steve," an homage to Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.
1st Time For 2 New Phones
Ever since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple has introduced one new model a year.
Now, for the first time, there are two: the new flagship iPhone 5S, and the lower-cost, colorful iPhone 5C.
The 5S is the current iPhone 5 — same size, shape, metal body and 4-inch Retina display — with upgraded internals and one key new feature. The iPhone 5C is to all intents and purposes the current iPhone 5 housed in a new plastic body.
Both phones run iOS 7, a new version of Apple's mobile operating system now available for downloading to iPads and older iPhones. The software's look and feel have been overhauled, with flat, brightly colored icons replacing the more textured look of previous releases.
Users of iOS 7, will find some things different. For example, you now close an app running in the background by flicking a thumbnail of it with your finger. Also, iTunes Radio takes on the likes of Pandora and Spotify, and a new Control Center gives you quick access to key settings — something phones with Google's Android software have had for some time.
But the phones themselves are mostly about incremental changes and perhaps about laying the groundwork for future, bigger innovations.
The most important new feature in both is the 5S Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which addresses a significant pain point for mobile users: security.
The Touch ID is built into the 5S home button. Once you've scanned your fingers — both thumbs, for example — a light press of the button wakes the phone and simultaneously unlocks it.
The Touch ID also works for purchases from Apple's iTunes and App Stores, yet another small step — after the Passbook feature introduced last year — toward establishing the company as a force in the nascent field of mobile payments.
Apple is taking pains to reassure users that the fingerprint data, which is stored in mathematical form rather than as a graphical image, never leaves the phone. It's stored in a special area of the new A7 microprocessor that powers the 5s, and Apple says it isn't uploaded to its servers or anywhere else.
Apple says the A7 is the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone, something that's of far more interest to technophiles than average consumers. But you may see evidence of the greater power in things like the complex graphics of some visually intensive games and the speed of the 8-megapixel camera's autofocus. And, like a new motion processor, its value may become clearer as new apps take advantage of it.
The camera has been upgraded with a larger sensor, wider aperture and a new flash for taking better photos in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. Images captured in a darkened restaurant were much warmer and more natural than on the current model.
The camera app has also been extensively reworked to add features like a burst mode for taking multiple rapid-fire shots and auto image stabilization.
There's a new gold color (joining silver and gray), slow-motion video, an improved front-facing camera for better video calls using Apple's FaceTime, and support for more non-U.S. carriers' ultra-fast LTE networks.
The 5C's changes are more visible, if less significant. The big one is the new body. Though it's plastic, there's nothing cheap-feeling about it, and the cartoon-like iOS 7 somehow feels more at home when it's surrounded by one of the five bright new colors: blue, pink, yellow, green and white. (Even the software's background color is set to match the color of the case.)
The 5C's other departures from the 2012 model are modest. It, too, has the new FaceTime camera and expanded LTE support. Battery life should be about the same as on the 5 and 5s, good enough to easily get through a full day of normal use.
Otherwise, the biggest change is in the price. On the Verizon, AT&T and Sprint networks in the U.S., the 5S starts at $199 on a two-year contract for a model with 16 gigabytes of storage, while the 5C is the least expensive new iPhone ever: $99 for the 16-gigabyte version. On the contract-free T-Mobile network, the 5s starts at $649, the 5c at $599.
Reports from Bloomberg News and Fox CT reporter Jan Carabeo were included in this story.