iPhone Launch: Lines Shorter Than Expected
So, here we are within spitting distance of the iPhone launch ... and we have to admit we're a little disappointed. In just over 24 hours from now, the iPhone will officially be on sale. But where are the massive lines wrapped around the block? Where are the miles of camping tents? Where are the riots? Where are the Kentuckians driving by lines and shooting at them with BB guns?
What we're saying is, what the heck kind of launch is this? As of this writing (less than 26 hours out), Switched has confirmed that only 12 people are lined up outside of Apple's New York store in Soho. A slightly less pathetic 18 people are lined up outside of the Fifth Avenue New York store. What gives? Why is the iPhone launch so much less exciting than last fall's sideshow of a PS3 launch?
Well, consider the audience. Unlike the PS3, the iPhone is really more of a product targeted at the employed; people who don't have the luxury of spending days playing make-believe survivalist outside of an electronics store; people who are a lot less likely to be living in Mom's basement.
Secondly, it's the numbers. Sony had only 400,000 PlayStation 3 consoles in the U.S. at launch, which was like throwing a half a sardine into a swimming pool full of piranhas. That meager quantity created crowds, which in turn created some great headlines for the launch. But, it also led to shortages and backlash -- not to mention the violence. Police had to shut down stores in California and New York after brawls broke out. As we mentioned above, last year in Kentucky a line of PS3 hopefuls was shot up in a BB-gun drive-by. A store in California was robbed of its PS3s at gunpoint, while in Connecticut two gunmen shot a customer lined up outside of a Wal-Mart after he refused to hand over his PS3 money.
Apple, it seems, has learned from Sony's bungled launch and is promising three million iPhones available for sale starting tomorrow. Apple is so confident that three million units will suffice that it's allowing two phones per customer. PS3 was limited to one per customer.
For the most part, it appears the masses agree with Apple's assessment that three million will be enough. Sure, the freaks will gobble up the first few hundred thousand units tomorrow night, but your iPhone will be waiting for you when you're damn well ready to buy it. Or, at least that's what you keep telling yourself, right?
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