You already know that the latest and greatest Apple
gadget is here – the iPhone 4! 
You’ve heard all about the features you wouldn’t believe, like a 5 mega pixel HD camera
with flash and an all new feature called Facetime, making it the first cell phone to have
true video calling. (Of course, complaints are already flooding in, mainly hardware issues with the glass, screen and reception.)

Sure, the iPhone sounds nifty, but what’s with this camping out to get it thing? I went down to the Union Square Apple store to scope out
the action and excitement surrounding the release, ask folks in line the biggest question
of all:  What is motivated you to
sit out in the cold overnight?!

Responses ranged from “To have it before anyone else”
to “I had just had a baby and I need two iPhones so my wife and I can use
FaceTime when one of us is not at home.” 

Others cited Apple’s underestimation of demand for the phone, which had over 600,000 pre-orders placed online, well over ten times the amount pre-ordered for the 3GS last year.  Several linesitters said that they’d tried to pre-order their phone and were met with an error message that
their “request could not be processed at this time.”

Is this evidence of a bump in our
economy?  True, the unemployment
rate is still very high (which is, perhaps, why so many people could take off work to wait in a line), but according the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
there has been an improvement in recent months.

There were definitely some good stories to report on with
the unique situations that brought these people to wait in line overnight.  Here are the highlights:

iPhone1

Proof that San Francisco is full love: many people waiting in line were just there for moral support for their significant other and have no plans to purchase an iPhone for themselves.

Like this couple, as their sign reads “We’re in love with each other; we’re in love with our iPhones.”

iphone2

Then again, some people took the event as an entrepreneurial opportunity and placed signs up accepting bids for their spot in line.

iphone3

Still others were in line not for a significant other, not to sell their space, and not to get an iPhone for themselves. No, this individual is holding a spot in line for her friend. Her friend has been in line for the release of every new Apple product since the release of the original iPod, and is flying into town late tonight from his honeymoon.

While she will have her boyfriend stopping by to supply her with fresh coffee and food, this is truly a selfless act if I’ve ever seen one. She even had already pre-ordered her iPhone.

iphone4

Of course we had to check in with the first two people in line, Chris Bank and Joe Lobato who were already featured on cnet. To update from the cnet article, while Chris was still accepting bids for his spot when we spoke, Joe had taken his spot off the market after working a deal with a friend in exchange for his friend buying him an iPhone.

When asked what the first thing they were gonna do when they got their iPhones, Chris said, “Call my mother to let her know I’m okay and then go to sleep!” and Joe said, “get on ustream and call my girlfriend.”

Overall, the features that those waiting in line are excited about is definitely the multi-tasking option with the new iPhone OS and the Facetime feature. One line-sitter, app developer Daniel Kim, is especially excited about the gyroscope function, which is expected to enable the phone to use advanced motion sensing technology, and offer more motion gestures and and greater precision for more unique gaming experiences, for example.

Now that people have their iPhones in hand (and have, hopefully, headed home to shower), we can’t wait to hear what they think of their new toy.  If you got a new IPhone today, tell us what you think of it! 

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  • Wil

    Not to deride what’s a great gadget, but the iPhone is not “the first cell phone to have true video calling” – the HTC Evo shipped last month with a front-facing camera and video chat that works over 3G as well as wifi (FaceTime is wifi-only).

  • Beenish Kahn

    Hey Wil, thanks for your comment!

    It’s true that there are other phones that offer video conferencing – the Evo being one of them. The Evo requires an additional program that does not come pre-loaded with the phone. The iPhone 4 comes with FaceTime right out of the box.

  • Al

    Hmm… I guess with sit/lie this will be a thing of the past?