Verizon's hotly anticipated iPhone went on sale Thursday, but customer interest "appeared to be tepid," according to the Associated Press. Though earlier iPhone releases had customers queuing up for blocks, in this case lines were sometimes "laughably short." (See an AP report about the short lines.) After months of hype and melodramatic frustration over rival carrier AT&T's iPhone service, why didn't crowds throng for the new iPhone? Here, four theories:

1. The weather repelled people
Previous iPhone launches occurred in summer months when it was relatively easy for fans to camp out for hours or days. Verizon's release coincided with "frigid overnight temperatures," says Eric Sivka at MacRumors, which likely took the zeal out of would-be zealots.

2. Customers ordered online
Thursday was the first day the Verizon iPhone went on sale in stores, but it's been available for pre-order for a week, and those early purchases "have already started shipping to peoples' homes and offices," says Dan Frommer at Business Insider. Why venture into the winter weather when you can order from your bed?

3. Potential customers are locked in to other contracts
AT&T iPhone users know it's not exactly "thrifty" to fork over a $325 early termination fee to AT&T "just to sign a two-year contract with another carrier," says Brennon Slattery at PC World. And, says Elmer-DeWitt in Fortune, some Verizon customers who want an iPhone may be stuck with contracts for their Android devices for now.

4. This phone isn't new
For iPhone owners who already get service from AT&T, buying the same phone again just to be on Verizon's network may seem "silly and expensive," says Slattery. Verizon may have better luck luring customers when the iPhone 5 comes out — it's expected this summer — and shoppers feel they are upgrading rather than just trading in one pricey phone for "the exact same phone."