Why I will wait in line again

San Jose Mercury News image of me getting first iPhone

Ahh, it seems so long ago when my son and I waited in line to fork over more than $600 each to buy an iPhone. The image above is from the front page of the San Jose Mercury News (I was cheering to many thousands of people who were waiting to get into the store to buy their iPhones and who had waited for up to 38 hours to do so — my son and I were first in line, which was a lot of fun).

I will do it again for WHATEVER Steve Jobs introduces on Wednesday.

Yes, I am a fanboi.

But for why, you need to go back to the experience I had waiting in line.

Unlike the media spectacle on Wednesday, waiting in line is not a controlled PR event. It is a PR event, for sure, but not a controlled one.

I have never participated in an event before or since than that one.

Tonight I looked back at photos and reports that Thomas Hawk shared and I want to take you back to 2007.

What made it magical?

1. It was a shared experience. Everyone was welcome, from kids to old geeks. From rich to poor (we shared the event with homeless as well as famous venture capitalists and CEOs from companies like Smugmug and teams from many companies like Quicken).
2. No PR control. Katie Cotton wasn’t there and couldn’t control what we reported, when we pulled out cameras, or how unruly things could get.
3. At the end we got to walk into the store and get something that did, indeed, end up changing the industry.
4. It was better than any FooCamp or BarCamp or WhereCamp or whatever. Why? Because we didn’t need an invite and we could talk with Apple’s first software developer, Bill Atkinson, all night long. I bet we’ll never be able to repeat that, and THAT is an even better story to tell my grandchildren than to say I sat at an Apple keynote.

It might sound pretty damn stupid to say I will be waiting in line again, especially since this time I won’t have seen the device or the software or the accessories that are surrounding it.

But I can already tell you that I will wait in line again.

Why?

My brother in law worked at Apple on the iPhone for several years. He kept telling me about a tablet device that Steve Jobs was personally working on.

Since then other Apple execs (both current and former) have told me that something is coming that I’ll definitely want to have.

Now, you might be cynical. But, these people have delivered before and I’m pretty sure they will deliver again.

One thing about Apple: if they don’t have the goods, their PR people will wave you off of the event. I’ve seen past events where this has happened. The hype the past three months for whatever Steve Jobs is announcing on Wednesday is extraordinary but there haven’t been any waveoffs. In fact the hype is intensifying.

Even if this device goes on to be a market failure like the Cube or the Newton or Apple TV I will want to own one, if even for a few weeks so I can try it before selling it on eBay.

Add these two things together and, yes, I will be in line again.

Thomas Hawk, you in?
Don McAskill, you in?
Bill Atkinson, you in?

Plus, this time I bet we get Techcrunch to sponsor the party instead of just covering it.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

24 thoughts on “Why I will wait in line again

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  2. It sure was a lot of fun camping out before the 1st iPhone…and the 2nd iPhone release. The 3rd release wasn't as much of a party the night before, but it was still fun…and by then I had gotten to know people from the previous years.

    I sure hope the Tablet will be worth camping over night for.

    This is why this is probably the tech story that has interested me more than almost any other. The iPhone, for me, was a no-brainer. Give me an iPod with a phone, throw in some net connectivity and GPS functionality, and I knew I would be all over it.

    I'm not so sure about a Tablet. Apple may make something I didn't realize I wanted, or it may make…not a flop per se, but a very niche product that works well for select people, just not me…like the MacBook Air. Or…it could release a major flop…NOBODY knows for sure.

    If Apple surprises me, and I do want it, I will definitely camp out for it. If I don't want it, but it's camp worthy for others, I will go and support them, as well as take advantage of the opportunity to meet some incredible people like I have there in the past.

    I really just want a sub-$500 netbook with OS X and a high-end i7 MacBook Pro.

  3. As it is an Apple product, my expectations are set to low. Also as it is Apple it will be over priced, proprietary and closed. Really Apple is the anti computer company. Though I do have an iphone I will most likely move to another phone again soon. I am trying to keep my computer free of all Apple software. I think I am totally immune to the Reality Distortion field, I just want to get things done the way I want them done in an environment where I feel like I am in control. I will definitely not be in the queue.

  4. Apple may actually win this 'PC guy' over this time. Ongoing frustration dealing with a variety of 'new', (somewhat cocky) people at Microsoft …. after 16 years of dedicated support ….. has me seriously thinking about joining you guys. FYI for you Windows 7 users … you've got about two weeks until you start getting unexpected warning messages and then in March the infamous re-boots begin. Could be an opening for Apple to increase their market share. We'll see.

  5. I will be happily reviewing the blogs (yours included) to really grasp the purpose of this tablet device and how it will help or hinder my iPhone experience. I cross my fingers, but don't hold my breath.

    ~joe

  6. I'm so in. I've done the line-at-the-store thing once, and it was for the first OSX. Love my iPod and iPhone but not enough to have *waited*. But this… yes, I'll join you. :)

  7. I tell you what, Scoble. I'm definitely in. I'm going to be one of those people waiting in line in St. Louis, Missouri just like I did for the iPhone.

    Of course we don't know for sure, but this tablet is going to be game-changer especially for entrepreneurs/publishers (which is who I cater to) obviously besides consumers.

    Imagine interactive video on a beautiful tablet newspaper or magazine. Instead of a typical ad, there is a unique video you simply touch and play.

    There is too much negativity with anything related to releases or really anything in general. Screw it.

    It is going to rock.

  8. Homeless guys in line for 600 iphone? Only on the West Coast where they forget that the rest of America has a little bit of sense when it comes to tech toys

  9. I always like your posts but: “Everyone was welcome, from kids to old geeks. From rich to poor”. Really? How many poor people can afford $600 for a phone?
    I for one will not be waiting in line. It's time to see past they hype, and here's my view of why
    http://bit.ly/8lWJpJ
    Thanks, Jason in London

  10. I just hope it's not a marketing from Apple, i believe you and i know most of the hypes from Apple are right..soo looking forward for Wednesday :)

  11. Robert – side note. Next time you come to Vancouver, or I see you (with or without the table dancing) please do not use the term “boi”. the word you're looking for is 'boy'. Here, it means somethin' just a wee bit different than how you're using it. ;)

  12. I still remember watching the videos of you and Patrick and how much fun you guys had. From a budget standpoint I don't know if we'll actually buy one – though I'm tempted to get one for my husband, who's never been the first one in the house to have anything cool like that. I may go stand in line to buy one for him – and send you videos from the Apple Store in St. Louis! (We'll be at the Galleria.)

  13. If I wasn't over 50 and out of the employable category and could afford gadgets then I might want one. But once past 50 nobody will hire you. Doesn't matter what your qualifications are. Doesn't matter you helped build all this crap. You can't be old and kewl at the same time. (Even if you are)

    Have fun with the gadgets.

  14. Same here Scoble, I'm in and and I'll either be waiting in line or waiting 2 hrs after the line has cleared and walk right in to buy one. Regardless I'll be out covering the launch. This is all assuming that the Apple Tablet is only announced at the event, then it will be available in stores let's say March or June?

  15. Nice to hear such enthusiasm – let's hope it's something as groundbreaking as the iPhone / iPod. Just please don't let it be called iPad; reminds me too much of women's products. Cheers from Philippines.

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