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92-year-old retired pilot first to get iPhone 5 at local store

Madison Mathews • Sep 21, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Carl Hoffman, a 92-year-old retired pilot, beamed from ear to ear as he was first in line waiting outside Verizon Wireless early Friday morning to get his hands on Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5.

“I’m working on 92 and this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” the retiree said.

Although he didn’t wait overnight to get the device — he had a little bit of help in that area — Hoffman joined about 50 other Apple enthusiasts who gathered outside the store.

Hoffman’s caregiver, Sheri Brian, set up camp outside Verizon at 6 p.m. Thursday, so she could get the new iPhone for Hoffman and his daughter when they went on sale at 8 a.m. Friday.

“So I told them I would come and stand in line for them and I’m going to get mine at the same time,” Brian said.

Brian packed up some chairs and blankets and brought her daughter along so they could take shifts throughout the night.

“Until about 5 o’clock this morning, there was only about seven of us, so I was kind of wishing I had come about 5 o’clock this morning,” she said.

But arriving early allowed Brian to hold a spot for Hoffman shortly before the first iPhone 5 was activated.

The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, has a taller screen, faster processor, updated software and can work on faster “fourth generation,” or 4G, mobile networks.

The device is Hoffman’s first iPhone, but it isn’t his first foray in the world of Apple. He recently got an iPad, so he’s familar with the touchscreen and the ever-growing App Store.

“I feel like because I’ve recently got an iPad, I’m familiar with the concept and so it’s to transfer what I know about it to it,” he said.

The only drawback?

“My fingers are too big,” Hoffman said.

The iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter and has a bigger screen, so Hoffman should be covered.

The new device also has a faster processor, updated software and can run on faster “fourth generation,” or 4G, mobile networks.

Despite some controversy surrounding a new map app, Apple’s new smartphone has become a quick seller. The company received 2 million orders in the first 24 hours of announcing its release date, more than twice the number for the iPhone 4S in the same period when that phone launched a year ago, according to the Associated Press.

Analysts have estimated Apple will ship as many as 10 million of the new iPhones by the end of September.

More people turned out for the iPhone 5 launch at the local Verizon store than they did last year when the iPhone 4S went on sale, according to Sam Lancaster, data sales consultant for Verizon Wireless.

“They (Apple) have a very devoted fan base, I guess you could say. Every iPhone launch gets a little bit bigger and Apple makes a great product. We’re very excited to have this product in our lineup,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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