Standing in Line

25 Jun

In the long long ago, people would stay up all night to wait for the release of record albums and concert tickets.

Now, we download from iTunes in the comfort of our homes, whenever we want.

Now, we hit “refresh” on our computers until the tickets go on sale online, or else we join the band’s fanclub to get a super-secret password enabling us to get the tickets a few days earlier than they go on general sale.

Instead, people wait hours for iPhones and iPads. I can’t think of another consumer product of any type that prompts people to wait literally hours in the heat to get it on day one. Clearly, those people could have waited until, for instance, today to get the phone without a wait, but part of the appeal is being the first, I suppose. When the very first iPhone came out in 2007, Apple stores shut down for the day and opened at 5pm. I showed up without a reservation or anything, and waited a mere hour.

Apple’s products have transcended being mere computers or phones. It’s like it’s a movement. Practically a religion. And to think less than 20 years ago, Apple was barely surviving.

The only other cultural phenomenon that I can think of that prompts folks to queue up like that involves not specific products, but the time of year – namely, Black Friday.

5 Responses to “Standing in Line”

  1. Chaz June 25, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    Now you have to wait on day one if you hope to get a device within the first weeks is also part of it. Once stock ran out yesterday afternoon the store will not have more for several weeks

  2. Dan June 25, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Yeah. ugh. I was in the line (and, as I tweeted [double ugh?], saw you briefly), but it was more because I wanted one than because I wanted one NOWNOWNOW. I really hope they aren’t available for quite a while, or else my wait will have been worthless. I know I sound like a dick here, but that’s because I waited NINE HOURS for my damn phone yesterday. I had no idea it’d have been that long, obviously, or else I’d have gone to work like a normal person instead of sending my boss a series of ‘Um, this is taking longer than I thought, it’ll be maybe two more hours’ emails.

    The line was fun for a while. There’s a bit of a festival attitude, with talking to your neighbors, marking your progress, etc. By about hour five, though, all the joy had been sapped out of it and I just wanted my phone so I could get sweet release and LEAVE.

  3. STEEL June 25, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Not to mention the upgraded version will come out 3 months later

  4. Hapklein June 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Actually the cult status of most of these products never wains. I recall about twelve years ago when the “latest,” version of Windows was released one person stood in line for hours and was so happy to have the opportunity he bought TWO copies for his single computer. 

    I bet the second copy is still sitting in his closet wrapped in plastic.

    Don’t forget this is just .01 and in 90 days is replaced by .02 

  5. Buffalo Blood Donor June 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    “The only other cultural phenomenon that I can think of that prompts folks to queue up like that involves not specific products, but the time of year – namely, Black Friday”

    Don’t forget the DMV. We queue up for the privilege of going through the DMV.


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