Demand for Apple’s new gadget leaves store shelves in Vicksburg bare|[07/13/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shoppers lined up outside stores around the country this weekend to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone, and Vicksburg was no different. But, for many, they showed up too late.

“Hopefully next week,” is all Cedrick Hubbard, 39, had to say Saturday morning as he walked out of the local AT&T store on Pemberton Square Boulevard. AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the new iPhone 3G, which went on sale in 21 countries Friday.

Hubbard, a Vicksburg resident, said he had gone to the store Saturday after a failed attempt at getting the new iPhone the day before.

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He went to the store at 7 a.m. Friday, about an hour before the it opened. Hubbard said he was wrong in thinking he’d gotten to the store early enough to get the new phone before he had to head to his daughter’s soccer camp.

“There were already a lot of people in line, and eventually I had to leave,” he said.

Hubbard said he later learned that the local store had sold all of its 40 iPhones that morning, and he was told to come back the next day when the store would have a new shipment.

But Hubbard was told Saturday at the store that the shipment didn’t come in and he would have to wait seven to 10 days.

“I should have stayed in line Friday morning, I guess,” he said, laughing.

While managers at the Vicksburg AT&T store would not comment on the iPhone shortage, Sue Berry, a spokesman for AT&T in Mississippi, said she didn’t think it was as much due to a limited number of phones as it was an unprecedented number of customers.

“Vicksburg doesn’t have a very big store,” she said. “Apple sends us the shipment that we get. We did not expect in some of our smaller markets people lining up in the wee hours of the morning.”

Meanwhile, as the iPhone flew off store shelves Friday it also hit a glitch. Customers across the nation were unable to get their phones working due to a global problem with Apple’s iTunes servers that was preventing the phones from being fully activated in-store. Buyers were told to perform the last step at home by connecting their phones to their own computers.

However, iTunes servers were equally hard to reach from home, leaving phones unusable except for emergency calls.