Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Commercialization over fanboyishness: Camping out for the iPhone 5:

Standing or sitting or camping out for the latest new iDevice has just gone from loyal fanboyish-ness to self-promotion and greed.

As of Sunday, at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, there were seven people in line. All of them were there for commercial reasons, not because they wanted the device for themselves.

The first two, Hazem Sayed, 54, and his marketing manager Sage (short for Sagittarius), 31, were camped out on Thursday 8 a.m., eight days early. They are in line to promote a social media startup (and iPhone and Android app) called Vibe.

No. 3 and No. 4: Jessica Mellow, 27, and Keenen Thompson, 22, are seeing their time in line subsidized by Gazelle, the third-party electronics reseller that has been soliciting past customers for iPhone trade-ins. Gazelle did the same last year, when the pair was No. 2 and No. 1 in line, respectively.

Gazelle is paying for Mellow and Thompson's iPhone 5s as well as food, drink, camp chairs, sleeping bags, Gazelle-branded t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, wrist bands, and, in case of bad weather, a tent.

Mellow is also blogging about her experience this week at iphonewhatever.com.

No. 5 was Jackie Lin, 15. He had been in line initially with the intention of selling his spot in line. Nos. 6 and 7, Brian Ceballo, 18, and Joseph Cruz, 19, as aspiring musicians, were hoping to score some free publicity.

Remember Gazelle, though? Not only did they subsidize Mellow and Thompson, they wanted to subsidize the first five persons in line. Since Sayed and Sage passed on the offer, that meant Lin, Ceballo, and Cruz were all given the offer, instead. Lin has changed his mind and decided to stay in line rather than sell his place, since Gazelle will pay for the device.

It makes you long for the days of 2007, when the iPhone was first introduced.

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