Tech Fanatics Lust for the Highly Anticipated iPhone
LOS ANGELES – With free wireless Internet, a hot dog stand and a few friends, Daniel Eran Dilger calculates he could survive for days outside a store in a dogged attempt to grab the latest must-have consumer gadget.
Dilger, a 33-year-old technology consultant from San Francisco, will camp outside an Apple store before the June 29 release of the iPhone, a cell phone with a touchscreen, music and video player and Internet browser with email capability.
"I might get my friends to camp with me," he said.
Dilger is typical of the sort of person likely to line up for the iPhone, according to Kaan Yigit, study director at the Solutions Research Group, a consumer research organization based in Toronto.
The typical iPhone buyer is a young man with a college degree and a higher than average annual household income, according to the group's online survey of buyers.
The iPhone, to cost between $500 and $600, will be available online and in Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) stores.
Though expensive, Laura Knoll, 25, said she was willing to foot the bill for the phone because "it's everything in one."
"I'm totally stoked about it. I can't wait to get it," Knoll said, standing inside an Apple store in Glendale, a city adjacent to Los Angeles.
Earlier this week, sellers offering the phone -- when it became available -- were getting bids as high as $830 on online auctioneer eBay, according to media reports.
By Friday, the postings had been removed and eBay spokesperson Catherine England confirmed the company was no longer allowing pre-sales of the iPhone because of the extraordinarily high demand expected.
"DROOLING TO GET ONE"
Clearly, the iPhone is hot, but why?
Two reasons, said Jen O'Connell, author of "The Cell Phone Decoder Ring," a book that helps readers pick a cell phone.
First, O'Connell recognizes the power of the publicity machine at Apple, famous these days for its Mac notebook computers and iPod music players.
"They give just enough information for people to freak out over it," said O'Connell, who credits the company as having enough reach to touch her grandmother in Montana.
Though Steve Jobs, Apple's iconic co-founder and chief executive, introduced the phone in January, the company did not announce the phone's release date until it began airing television commercials last Sunday.
The ads can also be seen on the company's Web site (www.apple.com/iphone) and on YouTube, which already has spoofs of the commercials posted.
But O'Connell also believes the hype around the iPhone is because of its uniqueness.
"This is nothing like anyone else has manufactured before," she said. "It looks cool and the way you interact with it is cool. I'm drooling at the mouth to get one."