Re: [wpmac] [OT] You have to get a "God machine" . . .
- --- In email@example.com, Cydne <chinamartine@...> wrote:
>Well, good luck:
> You are a mean cruel man, Sir! I'm trying so hard to ignore that
> (currently unaffordable) little jewel.
New York Times, June 27, 2007
Waiting for the Latest in Wizardry
By KATIE HAFNER
SAN FRANCISCO, June 26 At the Apple store on Fifth Avenue
in New York, the first in line are already camped out.
Sightings of the device already in the possession of a
privileged few were being reported, even photographed and
posted on the Internet. Rumors have it that shipments are
arriving in the dark of night, accompanied by armed guards.
All this for a cellphone. Steve Jobs, known for his
marketing wizardry, has apparently convinced thousands of
people that the Apple iPhone is no ordinary phone. But even
those accustomed by now to the Apple chief executive's
well-orchestrated product rollouts are struck by the
frisson of anticipation he has managed to generate. By one
estimate, two-thirds of the population of the United States
seem to be aware of the device, which combines a cellphone
with an iPod with Internet access. It will finally be
available at 6 p.m. Friday but only to those willing to
wait in lines that promise to stretch for blocks. Wall
Street analysts expect Apple and its partner AT&T to sell
about three million phones within the first weeks.
"It's masterful when you really think about it," said
Jeremy Horwitz, the editor in chief of iLounge, a popular
online publication read by iPod and iTunes users. "Ask
yourself how many companies can announce a product six
months in advance and not just sustain public interest but
even build the frenzy. It's staggering to me."
Pre-introduction product hype and hysteria is not new, of
course. Just ask any 12-year-old Harry Potter fan or
middle-age Star Wars cultist. Last year, video game addicts
slept on sidewalks outside Sony stores to be the first to
buy the PlayStation 3. But ever since Apple first let the
world know about the Macintosh computer in 1984, with its
Super Bowl commercial, the company has become the
standard-bearer in drum roll marketing for consumer
Trent Lapinski, 20, a Web developer in Huntington Beach,
Calif., has spent hours systematically researching the best
store to find the device. Late last week, he drove to four
AT&T and Apple stores in an effort to find an advantage.
An employee at an AT&T store tipped off Mr. Lapinski to
another AT&T store tucked into a new housing development
where no one has moved in yet. "They told me there probably
won't be anyone there, so maybe I'll take my chances
there," he said.
Ismail Elshareef, 31, a software engineer in Los Angeles,
has his equipment sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camping
chair, sweatshirt, sweat pants, breath mints and Chuck
Palahniuk novel and strategy in place. On Saturday, he
switched phone service from T-Mobile to AT&T. He plans to
go to the Apple store at a nearby mall Wednesday night, and
if a line is already forming, he will join it. If not, he
will return Thursday morning at 5 a.m.
The iPhone is arriving tightly wrapped in Apple's trademark
secrecy. Employees at the 164 Apple stores and 1,800 AT&T
Wireless stores were trained this week in how to use the
iPhone, but they were given few other details that might
come in handy. On Saturday, three employees at a store near
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh clad in T-shirts
given to all Apple store employees last week that read,
"June 29. The wait is almost over" tried to offer
whatever advice they could to a patron wondering what time
she should arrive on Friday.
Until yesterday, they did not know how to activate the
phones, or what they could tell customers about service
contracts with AT&T. They certainly did not know how many
iPhones their store would receive.
To fill the information gap, Web sites devoted to
Apple-related news are reporting that shipments of the
iPhone from Asia (via a "Hong Kong-based air courier") are
accompanied by armed guards, and that all camera-enabled
devices are being banned from Apple store stockrooms.
Gridskipper.com mapped where the closest public restrooms
and other necessities are to a dozen Apple stores. The rate
plan that is right, the rate plan generated headlines
Tuesday morning after the AT&T and Apple announcement. (The
basic plan is $60 a month for 450 voice minutes, 200 text
messages and unlimited Web browsing.)
One Web site caused a stir when it posted official memos
AT&T sent to its store managers on the need for stanchions
to keep the anticipated crowds on the sidewalk in lines, as
well as a how-to script, which seemed to be written for
sixth-graders, for speaking to building landlords about
At an AT&T Wireless store in downtown Sacramento, where
iPhone posters were already in place, an employee noted the
high degree of secrecy being demanded by Apple, adding that
his job was on the line if he said too much.
Customers, in the meantime, are being teased with
television commercials and a lengthy tutorial recently
released on the Apple Web site. By late last week, in the
windows of Apple stores around the country, giant mockups
of the iPhone ran a video showing off the already fabled
convergence of capabilities: e-mail messaging,
high-resolution video, music and full-scale Web browsing.
At $500 or $600, depending on the amount of memory, the
4.8-ounce device is expensive by any standards. And early
reviews are already mixed. Yet little is likely to deter
those who have their minds made up.
Jessica Rodriguez, 24, a student at Boricua College in New
York City, nabbed the fourth place in line outside the
Apple store on Fifth Avenue by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Ms.
Rodriguez seemed more interested in the event than the
actual phone. She said she planned to buy the phone for her
sister as a birthday gift, but will buy one for herself,
too, if she is allowed to buy two.
Ann Switzer, an artist who lives in Larkspur, Calif., just
north of San Francisco, stood outside the Apple store in
nearby Corte Madera, mesmerized by the big-screen video
Ms. Switzer said she knew she should wait a few months,
"just to make sure it's going to be everything Apple says
it's going to be." No sooner had she said this, however,
than she found emotion trumping practicality. "But, oh my
God, I'd love to have one of these."
For those who cannot or will not wait in line, there are
dozens of listings on CraigsList from people around the
country offering their services as "line waiters." They say
they will get in line a day ahead of time, for around $250.
Within hours of posting his offer to sit in line at the
Apple store in San Francisco for $300, Daniel Roberts, 27,
a Web engineer, said he got three takers.
And what will happen on Friday at 6? "It's going to be like
the world's biggest bra sale at Macy's, with screaming,
shoving and yelling," said a former advertising executive
who used to work on the Apple account. "Then everyone who
gets one will be like postinjection heroin addicts, sitting
there placidly with their iPhones."