Why don’t people line up for iPhones anymore?

it’s part of the story focal point iphone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice about Apple’s most popular product.

Back in 2007, David Barnard’s plan to buy his first iPhone was simple. He was going to walk up to the AT&T store during the weekend and buy one. That’s it.

But his brother Sam convinced him otherwise.

It was a simple phone call to convince David to drive up to the Apple Store in San Antonio and wait in line, and was one of the first people to buy one.

That iPhone launch has always been a treasured memory for David, who was captured by a San Antonio Express-news photographer as he, his brother and sister-in-law stood at the front of the line as they entered the store. David’s reaction ended up in the newspaper soon after he got his hands on the iconic device.

The iPhone launch took on an extra layer of meaning after Sam died of cancer in 2015.

“We fought like cats and dogs as kids, and then we kind of started to bond around being Mac nerds,” David says.

Fifteen years later, David is still a self-proclaimed “disappointed fan,” but everything else has changed. As the iPhone went mainstream, Apple transformed from an underdog into a titan of the industry. Its sales grew more than 15-fold last year to $366 billion, up from $24 billion in 2007 for all of the iPhone’s launch years.

See all: iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max Review: Welcome to Apple’s Dynamic Island

The tech industry has evolved along with Apple. In 2007, billions of people were online and using computers, but today the scale is much larger. Facebook, now the largest social network in the world, with more than 2.9 billion users logged in every month, counted less than 100 million at the time. And the global smartphone market was less than 10% of the size it is today.

Yet those iPhone lines aren’t what they used to be.

Industry watchers, historians and analysts agree that there are many reasons why it is no longer the same as in years past. One reason is e-commerce, which today allows people like Barnard to buy their iPhones online and They are easily shipped to their doorstep, Smartphones have become so mainstream, they don’t have that much cachet Be the first on your block with the latest gadgets,

We have more complex feelings about the tech industry than ever before. Over the past few years, tech companies have been beset with controversy How they handle (or mishandle) our personal privacyhow have they helped Build a huge government surveillance networkor how they allowed Shocking amount of hatred and violence To spring from their products,

See all: iPhone 14 review: A good upgrade for most people

Today, we are only starting to consider the ill-effects of carrying Internet-connected supercomputers in our pockets.

“The smartphone itself is a device full of positive and negative associations,” said Margaret O’MearaProfessor of History at the University of Washington and author of Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,

Sure, Apple is only one company, even if it is the world’s most valuable company at about $2.45 trillion. Regulators and lawmakers around the world typically focus more on reining in peers like Facebook parent Meta, Google and YouTube parent Alphabet, Amazon and Twitter, whose platforms and services have helped encourage people. tear down modern democracy,

Still, O’Mara says, even if there are fewer lines outside Apple stores, diehards Still present for the launch of iPhone 14 on Friday, Others, meanwhile, have moved online to social networks and live streaming platforms, where they share, debate, discuss and obsess.

“There are still plenty of intense and passionate fandoms out there with the eagerness to be first in line, to speak up, or to be engaged,” she said.

September 2022 outside the 5th Avenue Apple Store

A line of eager iPhone 5 customers outside the Apple Store on 14th Ave in New York City.

Joseph Kaminsky / CNET

get excited

Bob O’Donnell never lined up for an Apple device, but he did go to book release parties for the Harry Potter series with his kids. “It was an incident,” he said.

a longtime industry analyst and Now Founder of Technalysis ResearchO’Donnell said it’s hard to generate those levels of enthusiasm for a lot of things, let alone tech gadgets. “Literally, everyone has a smartphone now, and so it’s not that special or unique anymore,” he said.

Still, he says, Apple might be able to re-draw those lines if it ever gets around to being released. Its long rumored headsetEspecially because virtual reality has struggled to live up to its hype.

John Maeda Says Apple Goggles May Not Bring Out the Crowd, But There will be an even longer rumored Apple Car, technologist and author, who has worked at the MIT Media Lab and at Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among other places, said well-designed products paired with equally well-written software to help Apple has the ability to create. “Companies that can do both are rare,” he said.

an apple iphone 14 pro

Apple’s latest iPhone was launched on Friday.


That’s why people like David Barnard are still excited about the iPhone since it landed on store shelves 15 years ago. Shortly after the launch of the iPhone, Barnard began to shift his career to app development, which eventually led him to his current job. a developer advocate On App sales platform Revenuecat. Barnard eagerly preordered the iPhone 14 Pro a week before the debut, and says he’s looking forward to trying dynamic islandA new way to switch between apps at the top of the screen.

And if he can’t deliver the iPhone to his house, Barnard said you’ll probably find him with some friends outside the Apple Store.

“I can complain on Twitter, but I will do it,” he said. “And I’ll be happy and excited to do it, because it’s an experience.”

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