iCamp out for iPhone

PERKINS TWP. I'm that guy. The one who waited in line for 16 hours and shelled out $599 for an iPhone. My
May 24, 2010



I'm that guy.

The one who waited in line for 16 hours and shelled out $599 for an iPhone.

My younger brother and sister and I had anticipated the release of iPhone, the newest innovation from Apple, since it was announced Jan. 9 by CEO Steve Jobs.

We're Mac junkies, the three of us. We believe this thing will revolutionize the wireless industry.

The camp out began shortly after 2 a.m. Friday at the AT&T store on Milan Road. We were the first three in line, which was pretty exciting because no one knew what the available inventory would be.

We were joined by fellow Mac junkie Dan Smith, who provided the beginning of a long line of both comical and cult-like occurrences throughout the night and into the next day.

Here's just a sampling of my 16-hour wait.

2:15 a.m.: "Is that the armored truck?" Dan asks as a large vehicle approached, referring to the rumored Brinks truck that was supposed to deliver the phones.

"No, Dan. It's a garbage truck," I reply, pointing out that it was the middle of the night with no store employees in sight.

5:10 a.m.: Our friend Joe Koury arrives from Cleveland. He opted to wait in line with us instead of sitting alone.

7:25-8:30 a.m.: About three cars have pulled into the lot, which had us thinking we had company. We soon realized the parking lot doubles as an area for U-turns.

9:19 a.m.: After our parents brought us breakfast -- for which we are eternally grateful --a FedEx truck pulls into the lot shortly after the first employee arrived. All of us stand up with excitement. The truck turns around. All of us sit down, sans excitement.

9:30 a.m.: Irrelevant stat of the day: 37 police cars passed by between 2 a.m. and now.

10:30-11:30 a.m.: Onto the skin goes the sunscreen. Another Mac enthusiast, from Dayton no less, joins our group. She left her family at Cedar Point for the day to wait in line.

11:31 a.m.: We realize we could have had nine hours of sleep.

12-1:30 p.m.: The crowd grows to seven people. We make some calls to out-of-town sources who have inside information. They tell us that the phones have already arrived at their stores. This is the closest I'll ever get to the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigative journalism.

2:12 p.m.: The store manager comes out and talks with us for 30 minutes. We bombard him with an array of questions such as "How many phones do you have?" and "Why can't you tell us how many phones you have?"

3:30 p.m.: The line has reached double digits, now at 12 people, including a kid who got in line earlier, then packed up his stuff, left and came back three hours later. His net loss: Five spots, from No. 7 to No. 12.

4:16 p.m.: Preliminary paperwork is distributed to the crowd, outlining things like return policies and restocking fees. Available in English and Spanish.

4:30 p.m.: The store is locked up according to schedule as the staff prepares for the launch. The longest hour-and-a-half of our lives is underway. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating. But it felt like a long time on an hour of sleep.

4:31 p.m.: Everyone presses their faces against the glass in an attempt to catch a glimpse of an iPhone and its accessories.

5 p.m.: We see a display unit, and the staff gives us a demo from behind the glass. Being a puppet has its perks.

5:01-5:59 p.m.: Frantic pacing ... from everyone. Lots of frantic pacing.

6 p.m.: Doors open. Only a group of five is allowed on the sales floor at a time -- probably to prevent a stampede. Touche, AT&T.

6:10 p.m.: "The total comes to nineteen-thirty-one," the sales rep says, tallying up the cost of the three phones.

"Oh, $1,931. Yeah, I thought that sounded a bit funny," I say.

6:12 p.m.: Mission complete. We leave the store with three 8GB models, and Dan and Joe leave with two more. Rumor has it there were only 10 8GB phones in stock, which might have been a bummer for the kid who dropped five places.

In the end, it was a fun experience. We got to spend some quality time with each other and with other Apple fans. That's part of the appeal of the products the company makes -- there's an unspoken bond when you see someone with a Macbook, an iPod, and now an iPhone. A slight nod of the head, like a secret handshake between cult members.

It was certainly worth it, this 16-hour ordeal for a $599 phone that is supposed to change the industry.

Lastly, thank you Steve Jobs.

Let the revolution begin.