We visited Apple’s flagship store in New York from 7 to 9 p.m. ET Thursday, where roughly 25 people were in line for the iPhone 4S. The device goes on sale Friday at 8 a.m. local time.
Spirits were high despite the drizzle. Passersby frequently stopped to question those at the front of the line — and, in one case, to donate an umbrella.
But no one’s spirits were higher than Jessica Mellow of Harlem, 26, and her friend Kennen Thompson, 21, who hold the first two places in line. The two, adorned in bright orange swag from their sponsor Gazelle, have endured a variety of weather since arriving at the store 17 days ago, using donated trash bags to stay dry and slipping into Zipcars parked across the street to nab a few hours of sleep.
They’ve been recording their experiences — including the death of Steve Jobs, and subsequent media flurry around the flagship store — on Twitter and iphonewhatever.com.
The pair have been close friends since meeting three years ago doing film promotions. Mellow is a freelancer in promotions, but appears to be more (truly) passionate about creating and modeling face and body art. She has owned both an iPhone 3GS and an iPhone 4. Thompson, a self-described “Apple fanatic” who has owned every iteration of the iPhone and worked for Apple retail, handles social media “for a variety of blogs.” He has been working from his laptop in line.
And why have they been out there for 17 days? “For the experience,” they say.
“It’s not about the money, it’s not about the phone, it’s about the experience,” says Mellow. “We wanted to have this whole experience and ride it out to the end. It’s a goal we set for ourselves.”
Mellow and Thompson already turned down an offer of $1,500 for the first-in-line spot earlier this evening, they say. (The woman who was first in line for the iPad 2 traded her spot for $900.) They also turned down what they believed was $800 from someone who believed they were homeless.
“We kind of have these ridiculous consciences,” Mellow says. “We didn’t want to deceive anyone.”
“We’re going to stick it out till the end,” she adds.