Eager buyers grab Apple's gadget on first day

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IPhone devotees in Augusta believed the hype.

A line of more than 30 customers, all waiting expectantly Friday for the release of the iPhone, snaked around the AT&T store on Wrightsboro Road.

Jeremy Walker arrived at 12:30 p.m., becoming the third person in line. As a loyal Apple customer, he said that he was excited about the iPhone.

"It adds some 'personability' to your phone," he said.

Austin Overman, 29th in line, watched iPhone tutorials on Apple's Web site for a week before its release.

"It's like, not even a phone, man, it's everything," he said.

Customers from a mix of ages and backgrounds queued up for the iPhone, Apple's much-feted foray into the cell phone industry.

The iPhones arrived in a UPS truck at 20 minutes before 6 p.m.

Thirty minutes later, Gail Myers, the first person in Augusta to buy an iPhone, said she felt "relieved."

AT&T employees in the busy store let customers in 10 at a time. But the store's computers soon began to slow down as orders from across the country swamped AT&T's servers.

"As soon as I get home and get it activated, I'll be pumped," said Mr. Walker. "I think it'll live up to its hype."

He walked out of the store with his phone at 6:13 p.m.

Phil Ames bought an iPhone for his wife, a new principal at Westminster Day School.

"Everybody else in the family has an iPod except for her," he said. Mr. Ames, seventh in line, had been waiting since 2:30 p.m.

"I'll give the phone to my wife, and then we'll go down to Barnes & Noble and get iPhone for Dummies," he joked.

At 6:43 p.m. Mr. Overman finally walked into the store and announced, "I could, like, flip for joy" - which he promptly did before purchasing his long-awaited iPhone.

Reach Thomas Smyth at (706) 823-3224 or thomas.smyth@augustachronicle.com.