Before the sun came up Friday, hundreds of people across metro Detroit were in line in front of the Apple store at the Mall at Partridge Creek.
The line was so long it wrapped around the corner of the store, around the MJR movie theatre and out to the back parking lot.
When the clock struck 8 a.m., it was show time.
Apple employees dropped a curtain to reveal the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C display in the store front. The sales associates were clapping, cheering and ready for their first customer.
About halfway down the line, we ran into an iPhone veteran, Rob Carter. He made the trip from Novi to Clinton Township as part of his strategy.
“I thought the rain would deter people,” said Carter. “The Apple store in Novi is indoors and I knew would be packed, so I toughed it out in the rain.”
Carter has owned every model of the iPhone. His motto: out with the ‘kind of’ old and in with the new.
“I sold my iPhone 5 yesterday,so now I am rockin’ the 4s at least for a couple hours,” Carter said. “I am an iPhone fanatic, I’ve owned every product.”
Right next to Rob, we found Lynn Schafer of Clinton Township. It was her first trip any Apple store.
“I got here at 5:45 a.m. because this is the first iPhone I am buying …ever,” said Schafer. “I waited for this specifically because it’s the best.”
Lynn told us she really wanted the brand new gold iPhone 5S, but the Apple store at Partridge Creek had only one in stock.
Brian Mansour from Sterling Heights was the lucky guy in line to get it.
“I got here at 10 p.m. Thursday night,” said Mansour. “It was so worth it, while I feel bad no one else in line can get the gold one, I am happy I did.”
The Apple store is allowing customers to do a buy-back, where you turn in your old iPhone for money that go towards your new one. Contact your local Apple store for more details.
About the iPhones:
It's the first time Apple is releasing two different iPhone models at once. The pricier one, at $199 with a two-year contract, sports a fingerprint sensor, a better camera and a faster processor.
The fingerprint sensor alone is worth the $100 more you'll pay over an iPhone 5C. It encourages you to keep phones secure. Instead of typing in a four-digit passcode, you can just tap your finger on the home button most of the time. If there's a match with the finger you scanned in earlier, the phone will unlock.
The improved camera, meanwhile, offers better shots in low light, thanks to larger individual pixels and a wider shutter, even though the resolution remains at 8 megapixels.
The 5C model is largely last year's iPhone 5 with a few extras. The most noticeable is the choice of five colors -- green, blue, yellow, pink or white. The housing is made of plastic instead of aluminum and glass. The plastic doesn't feel cheap and offers the slippery feel of a shiny ceramic tile.
The 5C has a better front-facing camera than the 5, but it has the same A6 processor and the same rear camera lacking the 5S's improvements in low light. The 5C does come with a newer operating system, iOS 7, but older phones including the iPhone 5 can get the upgrade for free. The 5C costs $99. Unless you really want the colors, paying another $100 for the 5S is worth the investment.
Initially, they're available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the United Kingdom.