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iPhone Launch Event Coverage: San Francisco and Boulder
Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 4:00 PM - by Bryan Chaffin & Jeff Gamet
iPhone campers started lining up at 10:00 PM Thursday night in Boulder, Colorado for the chance to be one of the first to buy Apples new combination iPod and smartphone, and the lines at Apples San Francisco store started Thursday morning. Their patience paid off Friday evening when the Apple Stores opened their doors to fanfare and cheers.
Some 200 people were in line at the 29th Street Boulder location by 6:00 PM Friday evening, and more than 500 stretched around three sides of the San Francisco city block at the 1 Stockton Street store. In both cities, there was a festival air for many waiting in line, a sentiment that has been echoed in reports from around the country.
The first two units sold in Boulder went to local Mac consultant Mike McDaniel -- one of the first people in line Thursday night. "It was really great," he said. "There were great people in line. We had so much fun." Other mall stores joined in on the event by providing umbrellas for shade, drinks, and snacks. Mr. McDaniel added "It was a real community event."
The first person to walk out with an iPhone
is in the center of this image, surrounded
by attending media
Mike McDaniel scores the first iPhone
from the Boulder store.
In addition to the street performers near the head of the line in San Francisco, Starbucks had a portable kiosk on hand selling refreshments on the sidewalk near the Apple Store. Apple employees did their part to make everyone feel like they were part of a community event, too. As groups of customers were let in the store, employees would cheer, and new iPhone owners were congratulated as they stepped back outside.
Indeed, store employees started a shouted countdown at 5:59:34 PM, with cheers, applause, and congratulations ringing out as the first customers crossed through into the Apple Store. Within five minutes, the first customers walked back outside (through the assembled media), holding their iPhones aloft like trophies in a victory stance.Goffice.com, got in line at 1:00 PM in San Francisco in order to get an iPhone to test his companys new Goffice product for iPhone. It allows users to create, edit, save, and send as an e-mail attachment Word files from within Safari (PDF capabilities coming soon).
Mr. Warnock -- a Microsoft .Net developer -- needed to test it on an actual iPhone to make sure it worked. "Its been ready to go for several days," Mr. Warnock said, "but Ive been waiting to test it before we announced the product."
Anne and Matthew, residents of Berkeley, arrived in San Francisco at 2:30, but Matthews wait began long before that. "I said 10 years ago that Id pay up to US$3,000 for an Apple cell phone that worked," he said, making his price of $599 for an 8GB unit a comparative bargain. His wife Anne didnt an iPhone for herself, but instead provided moral support and drink runs for their wait.
Perhaps most interesting was that even after waiting in line for hours, days in some cases, people were smiling before and after they got their iPhones. Even Apple Store employees, who were no doubt under a lot of stress in the weeks leading up to the release, were also smiling and seemingly having a good time in the opening hours of iPhonemania.
Perhaps that is why the buying process remained swift throughout the opening day, standing in stark contrast to the experience of buying a phone through traditional carrier-operated store fronts. Once they got in, customers could get their iPhone and walk out of the store within just a few minutes, unless they wanted to stay and look at other Apple merchandize.
This was most closely illustrated by the scene at AT&T stores near both the San Francisco and Boulder Apple Store locations. As one customer left the Boulder AT&T store, an employee guarding the door would sternly allow the next person in line to come in. The 40-person line was quiet, and there wasnt any cheering as customers left the store with their new iPhone.
The same was true at the Market Street AT&T store in San Francisco, where the line was quiet, and the store quickly ran out of 8GB units. The lines didnt appear to move as fast at either location, either, and this was perhaps exacerbated by the decidedly un-partylike atmosphere.
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