CHELSEA — Thousands of excited iPhone-lovers descended on Apple Stores around the city Friday to get their mitts on the iPhone 5, the tech giant's latest release.
The new phone, released today, features a new design, a more vibrant display screen and faster connectivity through the 4G network.
The iPhone 5, which is also slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor, had tech-lovers grinning from ear to ear Friday morning at the Apple Store on West 14th Street and Ninth Avenue.
"It's been three years. I've been waiting a long time," said Gerald Posley, 42, who emerged from the Meatpacking District store with 16-gigabyte black iPhone 5 — an upgrade from his relatively clunky iPhone 3GS.
While die-hard fans began lining up for the new phone at the start of the week, many were still able to pick one up within one or two hours after arriving at the store Friday morning.
"I waited for an hour-and-a-half," said Felicia Lie, who was visiting from the United Kingdom and bought the full-price phone without a contract for $649.
"I really had nothing better to do, and my Blackberry, it actually died on me yesterday."
Lie said she was excited about how fast the phone runs and planned to use it to take tons of pictures on Instagram, the popular photo app.
But tech-crazed customers weren't the only people to swarm the city's Apple stores Friday. The NYPD had officers on hand encouraging new iPhone owners to have police tag their phones with invisible ink, so they can be easily identified if stolen.
Others were there advertising apps or selling accessories for the iPhone 5, which requires a new adapter to charge its battery.
While the release of the iPhone 5 has excited techies, Apple has also drawn criticism from many for replacing its Google Maps app with one made in-house. New Yorkers especially noted one big gap in the new software — its current lack of transit directions.
"I almost switched to Android because of the maps thing," said Edgar Yu, 27. "But I've been an Apple man all my life. Why switch now?"
NYU student Chris Norton, 19, said he wasn't too worried about the new Apple Maps program.
"I'm a little afraid," he said. "But it's Apple — it'll just get better."