You can make the argument that the hundreds of people who lined up this morning in front of the downtown Bethesda Apple store are out of their minds. My wife made that case last night when I told her I’d be waking up at 4:30 a.m. to line up for the new iPhone.
Go ahead. Call us lame. Call us losers. Call us lemmings. But you would have trouble finding a happier place in the DC area this morning — so early, even before the sun came up. We may be diehard gadget nuts, but we are also a community. And we might even be a new secular religion, as I wrote after Steve Jobs died.
People buying donuts and coffee for each other? Yes. (I did.) People talking about their families? Yes. People offering tech support? Yes.
The Apple employees actually walked down the line — more than 100 buyers were here before 7 a.m. — handing out coffee and donuts.
“Cream and sugar?” they asked.
I can’t get that service at home.
Met a lovely guy standing behind me — Adam Harper, a 29-year-old strategy consultant. He was buying his first iPhone, and it was on Sprint, a teetering company that is offering the iPhone for the first time, hoping for salvation.
“I’ve wanted it and now they are offering it so I’m getting it,” he said. His mother later joined him in line.
She was buying her first iPhone, also on Sprint.
The guy in front of me — Reynaldo Valdez, 24 — got off at work at 2:30 a.m at Gordon Beirsch and was in line by about 5:30 a.m. “I slept a little,” he said, emphasizing the word little.
He lines up every year for the new iPhone. “I don’t trust the mail to
deliver it,” he said. He was serious.
At 8 a.m., employees began clapping inside and outside the store, forming an aisle in the inner corridor to cheer on the first buyers to enter the store, which included me. I think the last time someone clapped for me was at my wedding.
Quick impressions: There were a lot of people dumping their Blackberries, which have had trouble connecting in recent days. Also, I was surprised at the number of first-time iPhone buyers. It often seems like everyone has one, but clearly Apple has lots of new phone customers. I did not see many people switching from Android.
Did you buy a new iPhone today? What was your line like? Post your experiences in the comment section. I’m off to go play with my new toy/communications device.