iPhone 5 Mania Infects Huntsville, Crowds Pack Stores

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- iPhone 5 went on sale at 8:00 a.m. Friday, but people in Huntsville started lining up around midnight.

WHNT News 19's Jeff Gray checked out The Apple Store at Bridge Street, an AT&T store, and a Verizon Wireless location and found people bundled up in blankets.

When doors opened at that Verizon location on University Drive, eager buyers flooded in and streamed up to the counters to purchase Apple's latest smartphone in both black and white. Verizon called in extra staff to handle the crowds.

Sue Ference and her daughter Alex Ference lined up outside Verizon at 3:30 a.m. and both had big smiles as the service rep activated their new devices.

"It's an I love you as my daughter gift," Sue Ference explained as the two shoppers showed off their purchases. "I'm super excited," Alex said, after noting her classmates would all be jealous, "It's shiny and the screen is huge and I have the best mom in the world."

The iPhone 5 offers an elongated screen. It's also faster, lighter and more powerful than the previous model. Full specs can be found here. The device starts at $199 for a 16GB model and prices go up from there.

Neal Ingram, a data sales manager for Verizon Wireless in Huntsville, said the addition of 4G LTE capability may be the biggest reason for the high demand. "It really is a big change. It's one of those things where anything you can do infront of your computer you can do it on your iPhone now."

Sales are expected to be heavy Friday.  Over 2 million devices have already been pre-ordered and Apple has announced delays in shipping.