Doors to the Apple Store at South University Drive in Fort Worth opened at 8 a.m. sharp Friday and customers, some still glassy-eyed from an all-night wait on the sidewalk, streamed inside to get their hands on the new iPhone 5.Employees clapped and cheered as Holden Gibson, a Texas Christian University student, was the first to enter the store after arriving about noon Thursday."A lot of coffee and not much else," Gibson said, describing the wait. "It was worth it as a one-time thing."Gibson said he has a morning class, so he would probably just charge the phone and check out the new features when he gets home.About 7:50 a.m., Apple employees ran by yelling, cheering and high-fiving customers in the line, which extended past the Pottery Barn. Inside the store, they pounded on a table and counted down from 10 before opening time.Five Fort Worth police officers were present for crowd control.About 11 p.m. Thursday, some 45 people were camped outside the store.They chatted amicably, some read old-fashioned books and magazines and others pecked on phones they presumably wanted to replace.A dome tent was pitched on a nearby grassy spot in the parking lot.John Hillman, 22, of Fort Worth and Mason Perkey, 19, of Burleson, both attend Tarrant County College, but they didn't know each other until they took their places in line about 11 p.m."I feel like it will pile up a lot in the morning, around 5 or 6," Perkey said.Hillman agreed. "When the 4s came out, it went all the way past Starbucks."They had lots of company worldwide.Global sales started at the Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, at 8 a.m. where about 500 people were waiting to buy the device, Bloomberg News reported.Analysts have estimated that the iPhone 5 will be the largest consumer-electronics debut in history. Apple may sell as many as 10 million iPhones during the weekend sales rush, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. Because Apple generates about two-thirds of its profit from the iPhone, a successful introduction is critical to fuel growth that has led investors to catapult Cupertino, California-based Apple to the world's most valuable company.Apple may have trouble keeping up with initial demand because of supply shortages of components such as in-cell screen displays, according to Barclays Plc. Already, the company had to push out some deliveries to October after early online purchases topped 2 million in 24 hours, double the record set last year with the iPhone 4S.With a new wireless contract, the device costs $199, $299 and $399 in the United States, depending on the amount of memory.This report contains material from Bloomberg News.
Alex Branch, 817-390-7689, Twitter: @albranch1; Bill Miller, 817-390-7684