Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone Lines

As I rode my bike to work today I passed by the front of the Stonestown Mall in San Francisco. There was a line stretching from the front entrance to the Macy's building, a distance of at least two hundred yards. Several hundred people waiting outside in the drizzling fog, at 7:45 in the morning. I didn't have to ask what they were waiting for; I've seen such lines here whenever Apple releases something.

I know from the media blitz that the product they're waiting for is the new 4th generation iPhone. I know this despite the fact that I don't watch TV, don't read a major periodical, and don't listen to the radio. Apple's advertising tactics are so ubiquitous, and their actions so closely monitored by most major news sources, that it's practically impossible to remain in the dark of a new Apple gadget release.

Even though I've seen this same phenomenon several times during the past few years, it continues to surprise me. Why do people get so excited about an overpriced, unnecessary gadget that costs them well over a thousand dollars a year? And why are they willing to get up early and stand in line in the rain? And why do they keep doing this each and every time Apple releases a new product (which seems to be every eight months or so)?

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