Top five sci-fi/fantasy moments evoked by the iPhone buying experience

Fun, iPhone
7/15/08

View from the front of the iPhone line.

View from the front of the line at the Sherman Oaks Apple Store.
Motorola v600, this is the last service I shall require of you.

So, even though I told myself on Saturday at the Glendale Apple Store that to stand in line for 5+ hours for an iPhone was patently ridiculous, somehow I ended up doing it myself yesterday at the Sherman Oaks Apple Store. At first, I was suckered in by a line that initially seemed to be moving briskly, slowing down only after I had invested too much time in the experience to give up. Ultimately, however, waiting inside the Fashion Square mall with the encouragement of my wife and kids and some pleasant chaps to chat with (even if mall policy required the security guards to prevent us from sitting down) was just way more pleasant than standing inside the Glendale Galleria parking garage next to some obnoxious dude bragging about his romantic exploits.

During my extended stay on the polished marble, I kept finding myself reminded of seminal moments in sci-fi and fantasy movies and TV in which anticipation and revelation play a major role (usually with unhappy results!). So, without further ado (and with thanks to linemate Nathan Bowers for suggesting item number two), here are my Top Five Sci-Fi/Fantasy Moments Evoked by the iPhone Buying Experience:

5. “Mr. Roth, will that be the 8 or the 16 gigabyte model?”

A still from Soylent Green.

Perhaps we were all waiting in line to “go home” like poor Sol Roth in Soylent Green, shuffling off this mortal coil to a glorious montage of the 1984 commercial intercut with endless musings of Mac Guy and PC Guy. iPhone is… do I have to say it?

4. “An entrance, Captain, but no exit. They go in, but they do not come out.”

A still from 'A Taste of Armageddon.'

At one point we heard that activation could take as long as two hours for one person. Why? Perhaps in reality the whole iPhone line had been declared dead in a simulated war like the one fought in the classic Star Trek episode ”A Taste of Armageddon,” and nobody was coming out… ever.

3. “Farewell, my friends! I go on to a better place!”

A still from Toy Story.

If death was to be our fate, it didn’t have to be an unhappy one. What about the cute little green aliens from Toy Story awaiting selection from the divine claw? They had a great attitude about the beyond. Of course, it was completely naive and unjustified, but…

2. “How would you like your earthlings, Supreme Commander Jobs?”

A still from 'To Serve Man.'

Great user experience, powerful applications… the iPhone is all about service, right? Serving Apple’s customers? Serving mankind? In fact, you could say that Apple’s unspoken mission statement is ”To Serve Man”… hmm… wait a second…

1. Worst. Unboxing. Ever.

A still from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Finally, if we did ever manage to get our hands on an iPhone after spending ridiculously long amounts of time in line, what was likely to occur? Technological bliss, or… divine judgment? Raiders of the Lost Ark offered one scenario. “Don’t look at the light, Marion, keep your eyes shut!”

 

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