Apple released the new iPhones in Belgium today. And it was a weird launch for me.
The last couple of years I've always stood behind the counter on launch day selling iPhones to eager customers. I always reserved one at work, which meant no lines, no stress, just a quick and easy purchase before the shop opened.
But this year Apple's supplies were severely limited and getting a 64gb iPhone 6 in space grey (my chosen model) from our own store wasn't possible on launch day.
Which meant.. doing something I had never done before: find a reseller, stand in line and hope that I would get one. Weird. It felt like being a civilian after being in the army for years. Buying an iPhone. In line. Like regular folks.
Base, a local provider, announced a launch event at midnight last week. And rumors had it they would have hundreds of devices in stock. So I decided to gamble on getting a device there.
I arrived at the location six hours in advance, with not a soul waiting. No lines yet. Not wanting to be 'that guy' who sat in line alone, I waited and scanned the scene. The scene being the grand hall of Antwerp's train station. A gorgeous place.
There were to other guys also hanging around eyeing the 'line starts here' sign. We decided to start the line together and luckily all needed a different model. No difficulties there.
A few hours later and the place was packed with hundreds of people. But guess who was that guy in front of the line? Me.
It was a weird crowd. I'm used to helping people at a launch but hearing regular people in line talk about products I love and know is weird.
People who don't backup. Who believe that force quitting apps is good. Who don't use passcodes. Dozens of app updates and other notifications on their home screen. People who talk rumors as if they where Truth. Bendgate, celeb nude hack, Apple copying Android, people who don't know Gruber or Dalrymple. Ugly. Just ugly.
And then there was the people who panicked. Someone had heard there was no stock. Would there be stock? "I heard only existing customers can buy one, You have to pay cash."...
It's weird how one guy's question becomes reality ten people later.
It was the first time I waited in line for an iPhone. I never felt more alien in my life waiting for a product I work with every day.