Short lines on Verizon iPhone launch day

Verizon may have set its one-day phone sales record in just two hours when the iPhone went up online for pre-order, but on the day when Verzion Wireless retail stores are set to make the device available to customers for the first time, the reaction is strikingly muted.

According to a CNN report, the flagship Apple store in Manhattan, New York saw just eight people in line in the minutes leading up to the store’s opening.

That’s compared to literally hundreds of people who were waiting as much as four days before the iPhone 4 went on sale with AT&T last year.

In Atlanta, CNN’s headquarters, a reporter walked around to a downtown Verizon store where there were about a dozen people waiting.

One woman got there at 6:15 AM with food and a blanket, only to find no line so she just waited in her car.

And in San Francisco’s downtown Apple Store, there was absolutely no line, while a couple people were waiting at a nearby Verizon store.

Compared to the iPhone 4’s main launch event last year, this intensity is lackluster at best. Of course, it isn’t a new phone. There isn’t that much excitement about the “first” to own something since it’s virtually the same device AT&T customers have been using for almost a year.

Nevertheless, the reception is likely a far cry from what Apple and Verizon expected. I doubt anyone at the top ranks expected that people would be able to just stroll in when the Apple Store in Manhattan opened its doors today.

Of course, in New York the weather is cold, even among winter standards in the Big Apple. Cnet wrote this morning, “The Apple staff way out-numbered actual Verizon iPhone 4 customers. I guess we finally have the answer to the question: What will keep people from standing in line for a new iPhone on launch day? It looks like 20-degree temperatures.”