After waiting in line for six hours to purchase an iPhone for the company for which he works, Lons expresses some decidedly contradictory thoughts about the iPhone and iPhone social phenomena.
Jean Baudrillard was totally 100% correct. The iPhone line is a real media event. Earlier in the day, one of my co-workers who had an earlier line shift was interviewed by the CW, and two others were photographed by the Associated Press. All night, people were videotaping and photographing the line from different angles and perspectives, with the Apple Store logo in the background and without, individual faces and large crowd scenes. There's a sense that this is something significant that must be captured for posterity. But the whole thing is also a media creation. The iPhone doesn't exist in reality for anyone but Steve Jobs and Walt Mossberg.
The iPhone is going to be enormous. It takes a special kind of genius to motivate people from around the country to line up for 28 hours for an overpriced cell phone integrated with these tools, and there's a lot more to it than senseless Consumer Whoredom.
The iPhone looks very slick and elegant, I'll grant that, based only on a few glimpses I've had of it on TV. But it doesn't do anything that a number of all-in-one cell phone/devices already do. The only significant difference is the animated GUI and the use of the entire front surface for a display. The advantages are mostly aesthetic, not functional.
So yes, all the excitement is largely a triumph of very shrewd marketing and the public's susceptibility to these whipped-up fervors. It's the modern equivalent of the Dutch tulip mania.