This is my first time doing it, and I can say I'm going to do it for every single product," said Craig Fox, who withstood a 25-hour wait by arriving at 4 p.m. yesterday. Fox was near the head of a line of hundreds who came to Apple's store at Oxford Circus here to buy the second-generation tablet. He and Ben Paton, one spot ahead, agreed the company of fellow line mates was the highlight--though Apple's free bottled water and overnight security staff helped keep up spirits, too.
The pleasure-pain inversion reminded me of Apple's online store. Ordinarily it's a bad thing when an e-commerce site goes down, but now a wave of anticipation sweeps across Twitter whenever Apple's "We'll be back soon" message arrives to presaging new products. Surely Apple could figure out how to update its store while it's live, but by now, the buzz probably more than makes up for the lost sales.
Overall, it's marketing genius. For customers, buying an iPad becomes participation in a larger social phenomenon