Live Blogging the iPad Launch
Just kidding. Sort of. (I’ll be posting an actual piece about what these Apple launches mean later today).
8:00 – Countdown and the doors are open.
8:01 – I’m discovering that this is as exciting as it ever actually gets. One Apple employee described the atmosphere at a product launch as “like a rave without x [ecstasy].” I fail to see what he was talking about. The Apple employees seem excited though; maybe they get a raise.
8:03 – Employees are still clapping but enthusiasm has died down to nothing. Those who have queued up are slowly making their way into the store.
8:04 – Some demonstrators (not protesters) are cheering along with the employees and holding up their signs (“Rights for Workers” and “Join Us!”).
8:06 – iPads have been purchased! People who have purchased iPads receive cheers and high-fives from store employees as they exit the store, bag in hand.
8:09 – Some stories from earlier. Met a girl waiting in line. When I asked her if this was her first Apple launch she said yes, but quickly corrected herself. “Well, I’m actually waiting in line for someone else. I got paid $20 on Craigslist to wait for someone. I really hope she shows up.” I had read that this was happening, but I didn’t think I’d actually meet anyone – and she was the first person I talked to!
8:10 – This has to be the world’s greatest anti-climax for all the people who waited hours in line. The woman in the front of the line actually camped out in a tent in front of the store last night!
8:12 – I feel a little sorry for the Craigslist girl. She’s now very near the front of the line and trying desperately to get in touch with the person who “hired” her.
8:13 – The first excitement! The woman who’d hired Craigslist girl arrives just in time!
8:15 – Another story: I went and talked to a woman I’d overheard say that this was her first Apple launch. When I asked her why she came out, she pointed to the guy sitting next to her. She said that he’d been to nearly every product launch. When I asked him how this launch compared, he replied: “Average.” When I asked him what inspired him to come to these launches, he looked up from his iPhone and shrugged. “I like their products,” he told me, as if to say: “Duh. Are you an idiot?” (More on this later).
8:18 – This is an astonishingly efficient process. We are already near the end of the line. One guy is so excited about his iPad that he’s opening it as he’s walking down the street. You’d think he was a little kid and this the Christmas gift he’d always wanted.
8:20 – Having never seen this before, I have to say that this truly blows my mind. It is real, cult-like emotion.
8:22 – I can’t stress just how efficient this really is. Can Apple just run our bureaucracy?
8:23 – These workers are going to be overjoyed when this is over. Just a few more people to go.
8:25 – Everyone is inside now. Apple employees linger around outside chatting with one another. Like that, it’s over.
8:27 – Let me stress this again. The entire process of opening the doors to customers, moving them through the line and back out the door with a new iPad took less than half an hour! Can you imagine if Apple ran the DMV?
8:30 – I can still hear some cheering, but the excitement has died down. One guy leaves the store with his new iPad and looks around as if he were leaving an adult video store.
8:32 – Thinking about it now, it’s truly strange that so many people would wait in such a long line to get a product that probably won’t sell out (I’ll check on this later). They are “early adopters” yes, but what’s the difference between getting an iPad at 8:00 in the morning and getting one at 10:00, when the store officially opens? Bragging rights? A story for the grandchildren?
8:35 – Apple employees converging in front of the store. Looks like they’re getting ready to shut down, calculate the sales, and prepare to re-open at 10;00.
8:40 – Crossing the street, I saw one guy playing with his new iPad. “Was it worth it?” I asked him. He grinned and then, sheepishly, he replied: “Yeah.” I’m no closer to understanding this phenomenon, but anything that brings this kind of joy to someone can’t be that bad.
8: 47 – “You can come in right now.” I asked an Apple employee if he thought the iPad would sell out. That was his response. I continue to be baffled by this phenomenon. Also, the store is open all day.