Thousands of people queued up to be in the first group of recipients of the new iPhone 5. My only question is, Why?
In case you hadn’t heard, Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 5 to a very mixed response. The journalists assembled at the event seemed happy, no doubt wowed by the reality distortion field that seems to have remained in Apple’s presence despite the passing of Steve Jobs. And the Apple faithful also seemed happy, despite the fact that the iPhone 5 is nothing more than an incremental update with a slightly bigger screen.
Online pre-orders for the iPhone 5 began immediately, with those quick enough off the draw able to secure one to be sent directly to their house on release day. The demand was epic, but even ordering online now would mean a wait of just 3-4 weeks. Less than a month. Which isn’t long to wait for a device that offers very little over its previous two iterations.
And yet despite this there have been record queues reported in cities around the world. Apple Stores as far afield as Sydney, London, and New York have been inundated with people wanting to be one of the first to get their hands on the iPhone 5. While most queued for hours, some queued for days and nights to be at the head of the line.
I could fully understand this level of interest if Apple had announced a truly innovative product that was going to change (if not the world then at least) the tech industry or smartphone market. But the iPhone doesn’t do that. In many ways it’s Apple keeping up with the best Android handsets released over the past year.
It’s been reported that many of those at the front of the queues are nothing more than publicity whores, using the media scrum that always surrounds Apple Store queues during new product launches to promote themselves, their company, or a corporate sponsor, But that doesn’t explain the hundreds that are tailing around the corner behind them.