By Olivia Scheck
MIDTOWN — Manhattan residents lined up outside stores on Thursday as Verizon began selling Apple's iPhone for the first time since the device hit the market in 2007.
Business was expected to be brisk all day Thursday as customers got their first chance to purchase an iPhone running on the largest cell phone carrier in the U.S.
Verizon Wireless stores began selling the phones at 7 a.m. Some Manhattan locations reported short lines while other customers were forced to wait outside in the cold until representatives could attend to them one-on-one.
"It's not really crowded, I guess they're expecting a lot of people, but they should be more flexible," said Mike Li, 35, as he waited in 20 degree weather outside the East 57th Street Verizon Wireless store for his iPhone at 10 a.m. Thursday.
To make amends for the outside wait the East 57th Street store distributed hand warmers and red Verizon hats to customers.
Apple had exclusively sold iPhones that ran on AT&T's wireless network before announcing their agreement with Verizon in January.
Waiting on a long line wasn't a problem for some tech-lovers who were excited to finally nab an iPhone after waiting more than two years for Verizon to carry them.
"I waited so long to get it, I bought two," said Eugene Hu, 49, a longtime Verizon customer who snapped up his phones at the Bryant Park Verizon store on 42nd Street Thursday.
Verizon is offering two versions of the iPhone 4 running on its network. The 16-gigabyte iPhone retails for $199 and the 32-gigabyte iPhone costs $299, according to Verizon's website. Both versions require a two-year agreement with Verizon and iPhone customers are also required to buy a $30 a month data plan with the phone.
Verizon representatives said they would grant debit cards worth $200 to current customers who bought other phones with them from November to January 10, before they announced they would begin carrying iPhones.
AT&T customers looking to make the switch to Verizon could also bring in their iPhones to have them appraised and have the value go towards a new phone hardwired for Verizon's network, representatives said.
Analysts predict Verizon will sell upwards of 9 million iPhones in 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported.