CLEVELAND -- Crowds gathered on both sides of Cleveland overnight for the anticipated Friday launch of Apple's iPhone 5.
From the Legacy Villagepple Store in Lyndhurst to the one in Westlake's Crocker Park, the lines got longer and longer as daylight grew nearer.
Experts, analysts and fans have been speculating about this device since the iPhone 4 was introduced two years ago.
Fans of Apple's flagship product were disappointed last year when Apple released a refresh of their iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, rather than introducing this new device.
The newest iteration touts a larger screen, thinner profile, lighter weight and better performance, among other benchmarks.
However, in the time Apple has prolonged the launch of their next-generation smartphone, other companies have released or announced highly competitive products like Samsung's Galaxy S3, Nokia's Lumia 920, Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx HD, or BlackBerry's upcoming line of "superphones."
Most cellular customers in the U.S. who bought an iPhone 4S last year are still locked into their two-year contract with their carrier, so they would have to pay full retail price to upgrade to the new iPhone right now.
The price tag?
Between $650 and $850!
Current iPhone owners can upgrade their phones to the new iOS 6 -- the newest version of the software that runs on the iPhone and iPad. It won't have all of the features of the iPhone 5, but it will add quite a lot.
Early adopters of iOS 6 will be disappointed to learn that all Google apps have been eliminated. Google's Android operating system, which powers popular devices like the Droid and Galaxy smartphone lines, is the company's chief competitor in the mobile market.
Apple's in-house mapping database is far less robust than competitors like Google, Microsoft (Bing), Nokia, or even traditional GPS brands like TomTom and Garmin. Those mapping solutions have been developed for years, whereas Apple's solution is still very new.
This means that people using Apple's maps app will run into many growing pains because Apple's maps app used to get all of its data from Google's databases. Things may be missing or misplaced for a while until Apple can iron out the kinks.
Still, the iPhone is surrounded by a pop culture frenzy that is hard to break free from. The interest around this product is undeniable, with fans and media swarming to get a piece of the action.
That frenzy finally culminates Friday morning, when Northeast Ohioans, and much of America, finally get their hands on the quixotic iPhone 5.