Five Years Ago Today…

…I was standing outside the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City, reporting on the iPhone launch for Macworld magazine with my (now divorced from) wife. We’d been in line for almost 24 hours – number 65 and 66. The line itself wasn’t particular exciting but, as we got closer and closer to the actual sale time, we all got more and more excited about the “JesusPhone”. It was a surreal experience – news media from around the world were interviewing people about a product they had never held yet they were still willing to stand in line to give Apple $600. A large percentage of the 64 people in front of us were there for either the experience or simply to get on TV – a sad by-product of our “fame based” celebrity focused culture.

The excitement grew as the doors opened and small groups were ushered into the store by a double line of Apple employees enthusiastically applauding us – why? For the stamina of sleeping out on the NYC streets for 24+ hours? Because we were early adopters? Or because it made for good B roll for the nightly news?

Regardless, it was fun going down those stairs, high fiving employees. My wife, being the MacMac she is, was much more excited than I was about the experience but I still enjoyed it. As we came out of the store, there were still media who hadn’t gotten an interview and they asked us if we wanted to be. I’m jaded and cynical so I had no interest but I pointed them to my cute little wife and she was happy to oblige. Her brief interview actually made it to Good Morning America the next day.

It was a fun experience – made easier by the fact I was getting paid enough to cover the costs of the iPhones – but not one I’ve repeated for any subsequent launches. I’m not a line standing kind of guy but to be honest, no other launch, not even the original iPad, came even close to the excitement that iPhone brought, not just to the Mac or technology world, but to (seemingly) all of Western Civilization.

I was also lucky enough to be at the iPhone announcement during Macworld Expo the previous January. CNET has reposted their video of the announcement.

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