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Here's to the iSheep, iPhone 5 vindicates them

Scores of comments posted to CNET ridiculed people who spent days waiting to buy a cell phone. Tomorrow the iPhone 5 goes on sale and likely it is the critics who will seem out of touch.

The wait for the iPhone 5 at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan wasn't easy. They endured surly cops, a hard rain, and nothing to eat but junk food. Tomorrow they get their reward. Greg Sandoval/CNET

NEW YORK--Fools.

Cult members.


That's just some of what was spat at those who chose to sleep on the streets for a week to buy an iPhone 5. On Twitter and in the readers' comments sections of tech news sites, the people who camped in front of Apple's Fifth Avenue store here were ridiculed for wasting their time and turning a consumer good into an idol.

They were also laughed at for worshiping a phone that supposedly wasn't any good.

Tomorrow, when the iPhone 5 is offered to the public, those people who braved the rain, cold, and all that derision will be packing plenty of their own trash-talking ammo. They can borrow a gesture from NBA great Allen Iverson, who used to shut-up opposing fans and loudmouthed opponents by calmly pointing to the scoreboard.

Here's what Apple supporters can point to:

  • Big demand
  • When Apple stores open their doors tomorrow at 8 a.m., employees will be greeted by legions waiting to buy the iPhone 5. Millions of others, who preordered before the stock ran out after the first hour, will receive their handsets via UPS. On the eve of the sale, Twitter was overflowing with posts about the phone. People were either declaring how excited they were about buying the phone or were asking friends if they wanted to do some line-sitting with them.

    Some analysts expect Apple to sell 6 million devices in the first weekend.

  • Glowing reviews
  • The reviews of the iPhone 5 were published in all the top media outlets: Check out these blurbs: "Apple has taken an already great product and made it better," gushed Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal. "Finally, the iPhone we've always wanted," wrote CNET's Scott Stein. "Apple has chiseled the smartphone to near-perfection," says TechCrunch's MG Siegler. Most of the others were similar as complimentary.

    Turns out the iSheep weren't freezing their earbuds off for just a phone. They did it for a "great" cell phone.

  • Customer loyalty
  • This isn't some fluke as critics would have you believe. According to naysayers, Apple generates this kind of attention with marketing sleight of hand and relies on the black arts of public relations. Who can deny that Apple is proficient at these things, but consider the company has been around since 1976. Many people have bought Apple products for a long time. and they keep buying them. They do that because Apple products work, and they're fun.

    Apple's founders didn't invent the personal computer, but they simplified it, made the joy of computing accessible to everyone. They didn't invent digital music players, but they made them more useful. Cell phones have been around 40 years, but it was Apple that transformed them into slick-looking little entertainment boxes. Fun.

So, what's wrong with standing in line a few days for a device that's associated with songs, e-books, movies, millions of games, lifestyle and self-improvement apps and on and on? Other companies offer as much and sometimes more, but the fact is not one of Apple's competitors has managed to build products that consistently ignite the public's imagination the way Apple does.

Anyway, if you hate Apple, know that the company will eventually fall. No company or human that has ever depended on wooing the public over and over can produce hits forever. Neither P.T. Barnum nor Madonna could do it. Either could Sony.

But whichever gadget company finally replaces Apple in the hearts of consumers, it certainly won't happen tomorrow.

Join CNET's coverage of the release of the Apple iPhone 5, starting at 7 a.m. ET.