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As iPhone 4S launches, many remember Steve Jobs, Apple's creative genius

NEW YORK — It wasn't just the latest iPhone that drew people to Apple stores Friday.

Many consumers waited in lines for hours to remember Steve Jobs, Apple's visionary, who died last week.

The company's first iPhone release since Jobs' death turned into another tribute. Some customers even joked that the new model 4S stood "for Steve."

The new phone, which went on sale Friday in seven countries, is faster than the previous model and comes with better software and an improved camera. Yet the unveiling comes at a time when Apple is finding it difficult to maintain the excitement of previous iPhone introductions.

For starters, the phone is more widely available than in the past. In addition to Apple stores, it's also sold by three wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. Some Best Buy, Target and Walmart stores also carry the phones, as do authorized resellers.

Buyers were also able to preorder the phone on Apple's website.

Many diehard Apple fans and investors were disappointed that Apple did not launch a more radically redesigned model.

That also may have contributed to smaller gatherings at some Apple locations.

Even so, hundreds of buyers camped out to be among the first to get the 4S.

Steve Wozniak, who created Apple with Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, was first in line at a store in Los Gatos, Calif., having arrived on his Segway the day before.

Wozniak, who typically waits in line for new Apple products, said he barely slept Thursday night as he was busy chatting with Apple fans, taking photos and giving autographs. Wozniak preordered two new iPhones. He bought two more Friday.

"I just want to be part of an important event, so I feel it more deeply," he said.

Many said the event resembled a memorial to Jobs.

In Chicago, Nicole Pacheco dragged her brother and a friend out to buy the phone.

"I wanted to see how it was, to come out here for once," she said as she looked at the line that stretched past her. "We're kind of a memory for Steve Jobs. It's one of his last inventions. It kind of motivated me to get the next one."

Apple and phone companies started taking orders for the iPhone 4S last Friday. Apple said Monday that more than 1 million orders came in, breaking the record set by last year's model.

Jobs' death could be helping sales. Marketing experts say products designed by widely admired figures usually see an upsurge in sales after their death.

The base model of the iPhone 4S costs $199 in the United States with a two-year contract. It comes with 16 gigabytes of storage.

As iPhone 4S launches, many remember Steve Jobs, Apple's creative genius 10/14/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011 10:15pm]
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