Apple in the community

PC Retail talks to the fanboys outside the Apple store in London, awaiting the iPhone
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As expected, the hardcore were out in anticipation of the iPhone launch at 6:02pm last Friday. I visited the front of the queue to find out just what sort of person is prepared to endure the cold, boredom and abuse of queuing up for 36 hours to be able to buy a phone that they could have bought without delay from any O2 or Carphone Warehouse shop the next day.

Manchester student Graham Gilbert was the lucky fanboy at the very front of the queue - having been there since 8:30 on Thursday morning to earn the priviledge. When asked why he said "I will be the first person in the UK to get an iPhone." When I mentioned the Oxford Steet retailers also offering the phone and, at 3pm, still queue-free, Gilbert responded tellingly "I trust Apple."

This answer could have just been the kind of statement of blind devotion you expect from an Apple fanboy, but I choose to interpret it as evidence that the whole thing was stage-managed by Apple and that Apple had assured Gilbert that if he sat outside the shop for a couple of days - thus proving to the world how popular the iPhone is - then he would get the very first one.

Further evidence for this theory is the fact that all the queuers were wearing hoodies provided by The Cloud - a Wi-Fi hotspot provider and Apple partner. Also, local pizza restaurants 'spontaneously' decided to provide the fanboys with pizza. I wonder if Steve Jobs' wallet had a hand in that spontenaiety.

The first fangirl was a few people down from Gilbert. Lisa Freeman told me: “I’ve been here since 3pm yesterday. I’m doing this because the iPhone is beautiful, it’s easy to use, it has all the applications you want on a phone – camera, music, etc."

She went on to confirm her Apple credentials: "Everything that you can put into your iMac, you can put into this. All the hardcore six of us, who were here last night, are Mac users," She said. They consisted of her, Carl Walker, Guy Jones, Nick Fletcher, Graham Gilbert and the ubiquitous "Polish guy".

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