It seems the iPhone queue has become America's answer to Speakers' Corner.
Most of the UK readers are already familiar with the centuries' old Hyde Park tradition, but for those of you that aren't, I'll explain. Every Sunday, a gaggle of Londoners gather in a corner of the park and open a free speaking forum. Anyone with any sort of crazy outlook is invited to climb up on their soapbox and pontificate on the state of affairs in front of a large crowd.
AM radio and the blogosphere aside, the US doesn't really have a public forum dedicated to letting the loud and passionate be heard, so Americans have adopted one of their own: the iPhone line.
A pack of enterprising environmental activists are trying to get their mugs on the news by setting up camp for iPhone 3G a full week before its release. The group's aims are, among other things, building an organic farm on the front lawn of the White House.
Sustainable agriculture aside, this shows just how big Apple's product releases have become. Last year it was golfing clowns, this year it's media-savvy hippies. The iPhone generates so much attention that its lines have transcended the usual tech gaggle of devoted fanboys and eBay entrepreneurs and become a place to get seen.
Perhaps it's because Apple's products are no longer considered strictly technology products, but rather some sort of mixture of gadget, personal appliance and fashion accessory. The appeal goes beyond the terminally hip and those obsessed with shiny new toys and reaches out to even the mildly-wired and casually fashionable as a cool thing to have.
Whether this will have any lasting impact for Apple remains to be seen; the fickle nature of fashion and the short lifespan of even the most iconic gadgets leads one to believe that the phenomena will die out long before the company can take over the world. Still, Steve Jobs has to pleased to see just how far his computer company has penetrated into pop culture.
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