Waiting in line for iPhones is glorious

I see that there are people already waiting in line for the Apple 3G iPhone.

I’m an expert on waiting in line for Apple products. My son and I waited 30+ hours in line last year to buy the first iPhone (we were first in line at the Apple store in Palo Alto, CA, which is the one closest to Steve Jobs’ home).

Personally, the line was more fun than using the product. It’ll always be one of the things in my life that I’ll remember. We had famous Apple software developers, famous CEOs and venture capitalists waiting in line, and a lot of other fun people, too.

But I’m going to say something shocking: the people this year who are waiting in line are chasing something that won’t show up.

First of all, the famous Apple geeks aren’t going to show up for an iteration, which is what this is.

Second of all, the TV crews will probably not show up this year. While there’s a lot of “inside the bubble” hype for the 3G iPhone, the hype for everyone else is not even close to what it was for the first iPhone.

Third of all, if Apple has any supply constraints this year the real story will be the plumeting stock price. So, I predict there won’t be any lack of supply and that everyone who wants a 3G iPhone will get one. So, waiting in line won’t get you an advantage.

But, waiting in line for an Apple product is glorious, even if it is idiotic. It’s certainly one way to get on Techmeme without writing a blog.

Ahh, it’ll be a long week of Apple hype.

Comments

  1. Hardly an expert Robert – you have done it once :)

    The whole queue thing I think is accepted more stateside. Try doing it over here and most places will call security and have you removed !

    Also lots of the Apple stores / O2 stores over here are in shopping centres that close outside of normal hours so the closet you can get it queuing outside the mall itself – which is even crazier looking !

    Nige

  2. Hardly an expert Robert – you have done it once :)

    The whole queue thing I think is accepted more stateside. Try doing it over here and most places will call security and have you removed !

    Also lots of the Apple stores / O2 stores over here are in shopping centres that close outside of normal hours so the closet you can get it queuing outside the mall itself – which is even crazier looking !

    Nige

  3. I appreciate your honesty Roberti agree that waiting in line is half the fun.
    The 3G ipHone is really no big deal, but it’s fun to wait in line with other people with the same interests.

    Have fun.

  4. I appreciate your honesty Roberti agree that waiting in line is half the fun.
    The 3G ipHone is really no big deal, but it’s fun to wait in line with other people with the same interests.

    Have fun.

  5. Was there ever a supply issue last year? I thought after the lines died down people just walked in and out with a phone.

    Apple better hope that the lines are not long this year, because they won’t be moving as fast as an Apple employee swiping a credit card and giving you a phone. In-store activation is going to slow things down ten-fold.

    Lines will not be as long because the 3G iPhone AT&T plans are too expensive and the cost of the phones are too high for people who do not qualify for an upgrade.

    There are more details on my site here:

    http://www.joeranft.com/2008/07/6-more-reasons-from-att-not-to-upgrade.html

  6. Was there ever a supply issue last year? I thought after the lines died down people just walked in and out with a phone.

    Apple better hope that the lines are not long this year, because they won’t be moving as fast as an Apple employee swiping a credit card and giving you a phone. In-store activation is going to slow things down ten-fold.

    Lines will not be as long because the 3G iPhone AT&T plans are too expensive and the cost of the phones are too high for people who do not qualify for an upgrade.

    There are more details on my site here:

    http://www.joeranft.com/2008/07/6-more-reasons-from-att-not-to-upgrade.html

  7. I need FriendFeed to cross-post back to your blog like it does to Twitter, Robert. :)

    From FF: Actually, I’m considering waiting in line again. Someone at Apple has already guaranteed my order (we’re buying our entire company 3G iPhones just like we did last year). So why would I wait? Because it’s fun. Like Robert, I had a blast last year and met some great people. I don’t need “famous” anyone to have fun – I just like meeting new people who are passionate about things, especially technology

  8. I need FriendFeed to cross-post back to your blog like it does to Twitter, Robert. :)

    From FF: Actually, I’m considering waiting in line again. Someone at Apple has already guaranteed my order (we’re buying our entire company 3G iPhones just like we did last year). So why would I wait? Because it’s fun. Like Robert, I had a blast last year and met some great people. I don’t need “famous” anyone to have fun – I just like meeting new people who are passionate about things, especially technology

  9. robert, I’m not sure how you like to communicate these days. Awkward to send you a url via twitter…

    I built you that mockup we discussed at IO. See the bottom right section of this mockup of your blog:
    http://iphone.uds.googlepages.com/scoble.html

    The little feed control I added takes a pile of feed descriptions and displays the linked titles, can auto-refresh to select a new subset of feeds, etc. We use this on our blogs to eliminate the long blogrolls, and we have several commercial sites using this control as well. For more info: http://www.google.com/uds/solutions/partnerbar/

  10. robert, I’m not sure how you like to communicate these days. Awkward to send you a url via twitter…

    I built you that mockup we discussed at IO. See the bottom right section of this mockup of your blog:
    http://iphone.uds.googlepages.com/scoble.html

    The little feed control I added takes a pile of feed descriptions and displays the linked titles, can auto-refresh to select a new subset of feeds, etc. We use this on our blogs to eliminate the long blogrolls, and we have several commercial sites using this control as well. For more info: http://www.google.com/uds/solutions/partnerbar/

  11. first off, i really do wonder how many are in these queues to see and be seen rather then shop for any actual product. but then i have long wondered about the fashion side of apple products and presentation.

    also, is it just me thats strangely reminded of the food queues of the Soviet? a very paradoxical thought, but i cant shake it…

  12. first off, i really do wonder how many are in these queues to see and be seen rather then shop for any actual product. but then i have long wondered about the fashion side of apple products and presentation.

    also, is it just me thats strangely reminded of the food queues of the Soviet? a very paradoxical thought, but i cant shake it…

  13. Mark: sorry I’ve been a flake. Writing a public comment is best. I pay attention to those first. When will you be in Mountain View again?

    Monkeyleader: actually I’ve waited in four of Apple’s lines (three for store openings).

  14. Mark: sorry I’ve been a flake. Writing a public comment is best. I pay attention to those first. When will you be in Mountain View again?

    Monkeyleader: actually I’ve waited in four of Apple’s lines (three for store openings).

  15. “someone should call child services on them”

    Yeah, thats the ticket. You see a news photo of a family in line, and you immediately think child abuse. Christ. You have no idea how long that child was in the line, or whether it was being “abused”.

    And Robert, I agree. I didn’t wait in line for the iPhone, but have done so for rock concerts and the like in my youth-the most fun is just being in line with others who share your passion, not sure why people get so bent out of shape about what OTHER people choose to do with their time, not to mention immediately getting holier than thou about their children.

  16. “someone should call child services on them”

    Yeah, thats the ticket. You see a news photo of a family in line, and you immediately think child abuse. Christ. You have no idea how long that child was in the line, or whether it was being “abused”.

    And Robert, I agree. I didn’t wait in line for the iPhone, but have done so for rock concerts and the like in my youth-the most fun is just being in line with others who share your passion, not sure why people get so bent out of shape about what OTHER people choose to do with their time, not to mention immediately getting holier than thou about their children.

  17. yeah. I’ve waited in line for the following:

    Jaguar
    Tiger
    Leopard
    iPhone 1.0
    iPhone 2.0 (next week)
    3 Apple Store Openings.

  18. yeah. I’ve waited in line for the following:

    Jaguar
    Tiger
    Leopard
    iPhone 1.0
    iPhone 2.0 (next week)
    3 Apple Store Openings.

  19. Oh sh*t. I have to take one of my computers down to the Genius bar this afternoon. Is this 3G thing going on now? How irritating for Apple customers.

  20. Oh sh*t. I have to take one of my computers down to the Genius bar this afternoon. Is this 3G thing going on now? How irritating for Apple customers.

  21. 10.5.4 and ProApps update with 8 core, yah, so the 3G be a snoozer, gonna get an uncapped one anyways, when does that start?

  22. 10.5.4 and ProApps update with 8 core, yah, so the 3G be a snoozer, gonna get an uncapped one anyways, when does that start?

  23. Robert,

    For me, it was fun watching you and Thomas Hawk on Ustream through the night as you chatted with random people walking by and answered questions in the chatroom. I just googled and found Brian’s blog on the Palo Alto experience, I wish I had been there – It looked like a fun and magical experience. http://bub.blicio.us/?p=248

    What a difference a year makes!

  24. Robert,

    For me, it was fun watching you and Thomas Hawk on Ustream through the night as you chatted with random people walking by and answered questions in the chatroom. I just googled and found Brian’s blog on the Palo Alto experience, I wish I had been there – It looked like a fun and magical experience. http://bub.blicio.us/?p=248

    What a difference a year makes!

  25. Yeah, I agree last year was a lot of fun. However, waiting in line for this revamp is sorta crazy. Especially the people with the toddler in NYC. I look forward to checking the 3G out but it is in no means line worthy. Oh yeah and hey “T” you obviously are better then everyone here but I have a hard time seeing what value of any amount you have added to the world maybe you should start working on that then saying we need to get lives.

  26. Yeah, I agree last year was a lot of fun. However, waiting in line for this revamp is sorta crazy. Especially the people with the toddler in NYC. I look forward to checking the 3G out but it is in no means line worthy. Oh yeah and hey “T” you obviously are better then everyone here but I have a hard time seeing what value of any amount you have added to the world maybe you should start working on that then saying we need to get lives.

  27. Robert, I rarely agree with your point of views but this time I couldn’t agree with you more. Too bad I’ll be out of the country next week. At least that guarantees there will be an available iPhone 3G when I return.

  28. Robert, I rarely agree with your point of views but this time I couldn’t agree with you more. Too bad I’ll be out of the country next week. At least that guarantees there will be an available iPhone 3G when I return.

  29. “We had famous Apple software developers, famous CEOs and venture capitalists waiting in line, and a lot of other fun people, too.”.. wow famous developers.. famous ceo’s… man i bet you were star struck… or easily impressed.

  30. “We had famous Apple software developers, famous CEOs and venture capitalists waiting in line, and a lot of other fun people, too.”.. wow famous developers.. famous ceo’s… man i bet you were star struck… or easily impressed.

  31. Lil’ Scobie said:

    “Oh yeah and hey “T” you obviously are better then everyone here but I have a hard time seeing what value of any amount you have added to the world maybe you should start working on that then saying we need to get lives.”

    Well, we now know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Since your Dad is King, you can be Prince of the non-sequiturs. What does that comment have anything to do with “T”‘s comment? If you feel foolish about waiting in line for a product and think “T” struck a nerve, have the guts to say so. “T” does have a point. Waiting 30 hours in line for ANYTHING (except maybe a vital organ) is really pretty foolish.

    Robert, name one “famous CEO” you saw that anyone on Wall Street would recognize immediately.

  32. Lil’ Scobie said:

    “Oh yeah and hey “T” you obviously are better then everyone here but I have a hard time seeing what value of any amount you have added to the world maybe you should start working on that then saying we need to get lives.”

    Well, we now know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Since your Dad is King, you can be Prince of the non-sequiturs. What does that comment have anything to do with “T”‘s comment? If you feel foolish about waiting in line for a product and think “T” struck a nerve, have the guts to say so. “T” does have a point. Waiting 30 hours in line for ANYTHING (except maybe a vital organ) is really pretty foolish.

    Robert, name one “famous CEO” you saw that anyone on Wall Street would recognize immediately.

  33. @MacBooker aka anonymous user mouthing off, apparently I am not the only one thinking that it is bad idea to have the baby there, this update from the post…

    Update 2: According to a Fortune report on the group, five of the ten have already hit the road, and New York City cops sent the baby packing not long after we visited the scene.

  34. @MacBooker aka anonymous user mouthing off, apparently I am not the only one thinking that it is bad idea to have the baby there, this update from the post…

    Update 2: According to a Fortune report on the group, five of the ten have already hit the road, and New York City cops sent the baby packing not long after we visited the scene.

  35. When the iPhone v1 came out Stevie said Edge was all that was reqd, and the Mac faithful soaked it up. Yet, barely a year later, there is a 3G version. It’s amazing how much the Mac cult believe anything that comes out of Jobs’ ass…mouth. And they think they are smarter than the average consumer :)
    The v2 is a phone worth buying…GPS, apps etc. The v1 – not so much.

  36. When the iPhone v1 came out Stevie said Edge was all that was reqd, and the Mac faithful soaked it up. Yet, barely a year later, there is a 3G version. It’s amazing how much the Mac cult believe anything that comes out of Jobs’ ass…mouth. And they think they are smarter than the average consumer :)
    The v2 is a phone worth buying…GPS, apps etc. The v1 – not so much.

  37. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little strange to consider “waiting in line to buy a mass-produced product” to be a memorable life event? Particularly after that fantastic trip the the nation’s capitol last month. Hopefully this was just an exaggeration!

  38. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little strange to consider “waiting in line to buy a mass-produced product” to be a memorable life event? Particularly after that fantastic trip the the nation’s capitol last month. Hopefully this was just an exaggeration!

  39. The iPhone 3G releases here n New Zealand on July. Since we never got the first iPhone, the hype has been pretty good. There are various radio competitions running, newspaper articles, current event shows interviewing geeks, etc.

    Until Vodafone NZ released the price tag and the contract plans! :-(

    More info – http://www.vodafone.co.nz/iphone/index.jsp

  40. The iPhone 3G releases here n New Zealand on July. Since we never got the first iPhone, the hype has been pretty good. There are various radio competitions running, newspaper articles, current event shows interviewing geeks, etc.

    Until Vodafone NZ released the price tag and the contract plans! :-(

    More info – http://www.vodafone.co.nz/iphone/index.jsp

  41. If I just want to buy an Iphone Friday or Saturday and do not care about publicity and would like to spend as little time as possible in line – when should I go to the Apple store in Palo Alto? Any guesses?

  42. If I just want to buy an Iphone Friday or Saturday and do not care about publicity and would like to spend as little time as possible in line – when should I go to the Apple store in Palo Alto? Any guesses?

  43. I’m going to stand in line at my PC and buy one online. Actually, I jest, but O2 (the company here in the UK who does the iPhone) is taking the preorders to deliver by courier on the release date.

    Won’t be so cold that way!

  44. I’m going to stand in line at my PC and buy one online. Actually, I jest, but O2 (the company here in the UK who does the iPhone) is taking the preorders to deliver by courier on the release date.

    Won’t be so cold that way!