Insanity Crash: iPhone? WhatPhone? - The Nerds that queued.

Since working for four years in a mobile telephone boutique I have has a slight distaste in my mouth for anything mobile phoney. The reason for this is pretty simple – over exposure. For years I was forced by interest and excitement to be pursuing the latest gadgets and mobile telephone gear. I still have a wealth of ingrained knowledge about GPRS, message centre numbers and the talk times for certain Nokia mobile phones, and try as I might I just can’t shift the recollections. I am sure that somewhere in my head there is a mark-all and delete key, but I can’t find it – this is my excuse for not remembering the Bernoulli equation of by heart (that is a lie – been working here for a year and I do remember it off by heart, for shame).

In anycase, last week I got a text message from my current mobile providers saying that the new Apple iPhone was available to buy. Like any proper geek, I am normally swayed by the lush design ethos of an Apple product, fapping over the inches (or lack of) the latest MacBook or moaning about how Windows crashes all the time, so being invited in to getting the new iPhone was quite nice of O2.

Until I got to the site and it didn’t load. So I gave it up. No point in wasting hours of work on the O2 site when Wikipedia and Google are sitting there, their cursors panting like dogs.

So it is with bemusement that I read later in the day (and the week) that it was the proper iPhone launch. It had a reported 13000 hits every second (a number other bloggers are concerned about) but it drew a line under a moment in my life. I think a few years ago I would have a horn for the device, but right now, I only want it because is looks good, does WiFi (which my older phone did but my new one doesn’t) and it is an iPod in phone format. I probably should be paying more attention to them (or at least have known about the biggest consumer electronics launch of the year) but it didn’t bother me that much really. I can wait.

But it reminds me of something I have no waited for. December 2006 saw myself and Colin standing outside Game at 8.25am on a very cold morning to pick up our Nintendo Wiis. I, being the stereotypical student, had not the funds to keep the Wii, and sold it at cost to a dear friend (what was I thinking! They were selling for 3 times that on eBay, Christ!) But Colin, whose had been bought by his collected friends, kept his. And we played it all day. I missed the final day of classes for it if I remember correctly.

Also, last year, again Colin and I queued up at midnight to obtain a copy of the final Harry Potter book. We were not alone; at the Wii launch there were about 30 people or so, but at the Harry Potter launch there was hundreds. We queued all the way around Borders for a good hour and half, reading two magazines for free while we waited. When we got to the till there were hundreds of copies of the Harry Potter novel – it wasn’t going to sell out.

So why did the Wii sell out? Or the iPhone? Surely, they would have expected the demand and altered the supply? Well, not exactly. You see, getti9ng headlines that your product “sold out” like Nintendo and Apple achieved is not a bad thing – indeed, it is a great thing. It gives column inches and publicity and the adult needs this.

When a gizmo that only wealthy or stupid people can afford or want, when they don’t get it, they go elsewhere. The iPhone is not unique – in the same way that an Apple MacBook is not, you can go and get a PC, if you need a phone but are wanting an iPhone, you could get a Blackberry or an iPaq or something by one of the larger manufacturers. No need to wait.

If you want a games console but need a Christmas present the Xbox360, while more expensive, is an answer. So the inches are truly publicity, good or bad.

Imagine a parent not being able to deliver the latest (and final) Harry Potter book to their kids. It would be catastrophic.

My point is this; I am not bothered about the iPhone. I’ll get one if I fancy it when I can, not when I have to put so much effort in. I can understand the need to be the first, but also don’t quite get the fervour some fans have had (like queuing in the morning for it). There is plenty more “better” phones out there than the iPhone. The Wii and the Harry Potter book, I can forgive, for not only are they more constrictive, but also I did it, and therefore it can’t be uncool. Q.E.D.