Lines forming at Apple Stores in advance of iPhone launch

Weeks before an iPhone 5S will likely be available at Apple Stores, lines have already been spotted, with some fans willing to go the distance, no matter what.

These two guys are at the front of the line for the new iPhone 5S right now. AppleInsider

It would seem that the rumors of Apple's demise (including a few spread by myself ) could be a bit premature. That is, if the lines seen at a few Apple Store outlets this weekend are any indication of the worldwide vitality of Apple fans' fervor.

AppleInsider reports that as of Friday afternoon, four people could already be seen camping out outside New York's Fifth Avenue Apple Store "in line" for a new iPhone that has yet to be officially announced. First in line were a couple of locals who said they would have no problem braving the elements and throngs of humanity (not to mention the hygiene challenges) in the center of the concrete jungle all the way until the anticipated September 20 on-sale date for a new iPhone 5S .

They were followed in line by a pair of gents on a more promotional mission for a Cincinnati-based used-Mac buyer.

But an even more bizarre demonstration of the strange masochism many Apple fanatics practice was witnessed on the other side of the country in Palo Alto, Calif., on Saturday. A crowd gathered in the pre-dawn hours to wait for hours just to be among the first in the doors of the newly re-opened and greatly expanded Stanford Shopping Center Apple Store. Some fans had even attempted to camp outside the store the night before but were chased away by mall security, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

No new flagship products were on sale and there were no door-busting sales or discounts to write home about. The crowd desired nothing more than to get a look at the new innards of one of Apple's retail outposts and maybe buy a few accessories or hit up the genius bar. I should also note that there are actually two Apple Store locations in Palo Alto, so these folks really had no fathomable good reason to stand in line other than to be the first to gawk at the new digs.

How perverse and perhaps privileged we are to live in a society where we can afford to spend time standing in line -- not for bread or sustenance, not for life-saving medicine, but simply to see what is at the end of the line.

I still think that the Apple of the 21st century -- and the iPhone in particular -- seems to be past its peak, but clearly the die-hard fans disagree with me. Maybe come Tuesday I'll be wowed enough by what Tim Cook and company reveal that I'll be compelled to start my own campout at ABQ Uptown, but it'll take much more than a fingerprint reader to get me there.

What about you? Do you or anyone you know plan to camp out for the new iPhone?

 

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