Early adopters provide Apple’s cannon fodder
Message from Apple to iPhone romantics worldwide: "Love Hurts."
Aside from the '70s band Nazareth, few know that song's true meaning more this month than iPhone 3G early adopters.
From Singapore to San Antonio, Apple faithful lined up by the thousands to be the first to exchange vows with the upgraded magical hand-held device once it went on sale Friday, only to discover that the upgraded magical hand-held device refused to consummate the marriage.
Once doors opened, the phones simply wouldn't activate. Was it AT&T's fault? Apple's fault? AT&T was quick to blame Apple's iTunes servers that seized up from all the traffic. In a funny-if-it-wasn't-sad-OK-it's-still-funny twist, various blogs reported that stores in the United Kingdom suddenly realized they needed Windows machines to activate the Apple gadgets. Apple wasn't returning anyone's call.
Face it, dude, maybe the iPhone just wasn't that into you.
Still, as always, I for one salute you, noble early adopters.
In the winter you're the first to run to the center of the lake to test whether it's completely frozen. In the summer you're the first to jump into that same lake, though rocks might be waiting for you just below the surface.
You're NASA's suborbital test monkeys, Jonas Salk's first few hundred attempts at a polio vaccine.
Remember that movie "Braveheart"? Before the English king "Longshanks" attacked, only to get schooled by a blue-faced Mel Gibson and his Scottish homies, his first move was to say, "Arrows cost money. Use up the Irish." Remember?
Yeah, you're the Irish.
Last year many of you lined up for the original iPhone, which cost a whopping $600 with a two-year contract. Weeks later, after they had your signature in blood, they dropped the price to $400.
You see, no matter what travesties you're forced to endure or ditches you're driven into, Apple knows you'll dust yourself off and get back to the front of the line next year, because you just have to be first. It's an almost maniacal need for the thrill.
That's why this year they planned to keep you in the store until you signed an expensive service contract. Despite holding your credit card hostage, they were afraid many of you were still nuts enough to just flee with a brand-new iPhone, unlock it and begin a life on the run, like a crazed barren lady pilfering a paternity ward.
So, you stood in line. Mass media descended on your mass hysteria. Broadcaster Leo Laporte (the Captain Kangaroo of tech) held a 24-hour live online video marathon as stores opened around the world on his twitlive.tv Web site. Thousands of us watched him watch thousands of you as the sun kept rising over and over on a global menagerie of geeks.
Why? Who knows. Maybe so your grandkids will have something they can click past on YouTube?
Perhaps Nazareth put it best in 1976: "Love is like a flame, it burns you when it's hot."
Not a bad choice as the first song to download into your iPhone, once those "Error Code 9838s" go away.