Middle England meets the iPhone 4

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Chichester is a small, and particularly lovely, cathedral city; on a warm summer’s morning that loveliness can scale fairly substantial heights, making one feel – even if one’s back is playing up – that life is pretty good. A former Roman settlement, its four main streets converge along the cardinal directions to an ornate, fifteenth century cross, formerly the site of the city’s market. Anyway, as I was making my way down North Street earlier this morning, towards the cross, en route to a pressing appointment with my doctor (hence the back reference above) I noticed a queue outside the O2 store. Thirty, maybe forty individuals, aged between their late teens and mid fifties – I hesitate to say all human life was here, bearing in mind Chichester’s distinctly Caucasian ethnic bent, but a fairly diverse collection nonetheless: a dark haired man in an red England replica soccer shirt, a grey haired, bespectacled, well turned out lady of advancing years; men in casual clothes, men in ill-fitting suits, a couple of thirtysomething women. Certainly as – if not  more -  demographically representative of the local populace than the queues that form outside Next for the Boxing Day sales, and far more so than the other, more regular, queue that forms in Chichester outside the post office, namely that comprised of elderly individuals pursuing their pensions with grim determination. This particular queue, of course, was in search of the iPhone 4, and was by no means unique: elsewhere in the country, similar queues had been forming outside O2 stores; at Apple’s flagship store in London, more than a thousand individuals stood, with varying degrees of patience, on the pavements of Regent Street until the doors were opened at 0700; at Vodafone stores, there were no queues, but only because all their iPhones had been sold on pre-orders. What do these queues mean? Do they tell us, for example, that people are incredibly excited about the new videocalling features on the iPhone? Well, I think not (see my earlier blog on the subject). More likely is that we have a combination of techno fashionistas, Mac Heads and – beyond that – a fair sample of the wider population that has been seduced by the iPhone’s UI and is eager to see how Apple can possibly improve on the previous incarnation. This, mark you, two days after an austerity budget. When the figures are totted up in a few days, Apple will almost certainly announce that launch sales of the iPhone 4 have outstripped those of its predecessor. In the current economic climes, that will be no mean feat, testament both to Apple’s technological ingenuity and its marketing savvy. In (high) streetfighting argot : Android, Nokia, have some of that…