So last night I had kind of a surreal experience. I'm no stranger to line-ups for release events, having spent a few days in line for Star Wars Episode I, camping outside overnight for Episode II, as well as several other movie-related lines. I often find that I meet interesting people in these kinds of lines, because we are all there for some (relatively) obscure common purpose. I waited for hours in the back of a Wal-Mart for the release of the Nintendo GameCube, and met some very cool people in the process.
But last night was the first time I waited in line for what was, ultimately, just a T-shirt.
Apple computer's new operating system, OS X version 10.5 (codenamed Leopard by the company) was released at 6pm yesterday, and even though I was not planning to buy it since my wife and I hope to buy a new computer in the spring, which will come with the new OS installed, I wanted to wait in line for it anyway. So I hopped on down to the local Apple Store at 5:30 where, to my great surprise, there were already about a hundred people in line.
My surprise was due to the fact that this was not a movie premiere or the new hottest Christmas toy, but a computer operating system. I had no idea so many people would show up, but such is the power of the Apple Hype Machine (see also: Steve Jobs' Reality Distortion Field). I did, in fact, meet some cool people in line as well, not to mention a few of my students from school who managed to get a spot right near the front. Lucky them. :)
The doors to the store were opened promptly at 6pm to the cheers of many Apple employees and customers, and people began filing in to get a peek at the new whiz-bang OS as well as a free T-shirt. I did both, and as I write this while proudly displaying my wearable Apple advertisement (or, more accurately, my badge of nerdery), I gotta say that it was indeed a pretty cool time altogether.
I apologize for the crudity of the video clip, but it gives you an idea of the extent of the line. This was about 5:50, and I'm guessing there were about 200 people there.