As I sit here writing this on the day the new iPad has launched, I’m inundated with reports of people around the globe waiting in line outside Apple stores hoping against hope that they’ll get their hands on one of the iPhone maker’s highly sought-after tablets. Some folks — including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — waited nearly 24 hours to get a new iPad, sleeping on sidewalks just for the chance to have it on launch day.
At first glance, many among us might ask why people would do such a thing. After all, the new iPad will only be sold out for a short time, and then everyone who wants one will be able to head online or run down to their local Apple Store and pick one up. Plus, the new iPad isn’t all that different than the iPad 2. So, for iPad 2 owners, sleeping outside to get Apple’s latest tablet really doesn’t make sense.
Admittedly, I’m one of those people that wouldn’t even consider waiting in a long line or sleeping overnight to get my hands on a new iPad. Sure, the device is a stellar product that combines some of the finest tablet elements we’ve seen yet, but it’s just a gadget at the end of the day. And spending nearly 24 hours of my life thinking solely about that device doesn’t appeal to me.
I’ll freely admit that waiting in line for an iPad isn’t for me, but I also embrace the fact that there are thousands among us who love the idea of it.
See, to many of those folks waiting in line for a new iPad, it’s about the camaraderie they just won’t find elsewhere. From the front of the line to the back, there are people there that share common interests, love Apple, and perhaps most importantly, have a real passion for the same things in life.
Forgive me for sounding too poetic about iPad lines, but I do think that there’s something rather uplifting about them. Apple has successfully created a culture around its products, and with each new product launch, its supporters have a place to go to carry on conversations, share stories, and yes, play Angry Birds.
I just don’t see any difference between going to the bar and having a couple drinks with friends and going to a line to wait for the iPad. There was a time when many people would have said waiting in line for a gadget is rather geeky, and the so-called “cool” among us would only be hanging out at the bar. But Apple has made tech-worship “cool.” And yesterday’s tech-obsessed are today’s norm.
There is a passion that surrounds Apple products unlike anything we’ve seen to this point in the technology industry. The people that support the movement are often called “cult-like,” but I’m not so sure that’s the right term. Today’s iPad, iPhone, and Mac faithful have built up their ranks and now, they’re millions strong. They are the mainstream now. And they’ve made waiting in line for a $500 tablet cooler than ever.
Don Reisinger is a technology and video game columnist. You can see what he's up to each day on Twitter by following him @donreisinger.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SlashGear