I've got iPhone on the brain tonight. My pre-ordered 3GS just escaped from Kentucky a few hours ago and is finally making it's way to my house as I type this. That preoccupation (and yes excitement) is probably why this short article from Engadget caught my eye.
Basically they show two side by side pictures of people waiting in line outside an Apple store in the U.K. The first has what looks to be hundreds of people waiting for the original iPhone while the second has only a handful waiting for the 3GS today.
In response to that the article says...
What a difference 18 months makes, eh? The relative short line for today's iPhone 3G S launch at Apple's flagship Regent Street store in London could be attributed to any number of factors: the economy, the steep cost of upgrade for iPhone 3G owners, or the fact that Apple allowed for advanced iPhone 3G S orders with home delivery. Or maybe people just aren't willing to wait in line for a bump in speed, improved graphics, and video recording. We wouldn't call it apathy but the iPhone halo doesn't seem as shiny beneath a spotlight now shared with Android and the new Pre.
I think it's time for a reality check here. At best the number of people who waited outside Apple stores for the original iPhone is comparatively small. Maybe 4 or 5 thousand people out of the 30 million iPhone users that eventually materialized. That's a very, very small sampling and really isn't indicative of anything.
That leads to my second point. The iPhone 3GS will almost certainly outsell the original iPhone when comparing first weekends. Yes regardless of how many people are waiting in line for it the 3GS is expected to sell at least 500,000 units this weekend as opposed to the original which sold only 270,000. So there's really no contest.
This again shows how the tech industry has an unrealistic and frankly unhealthy obsession with the edge case early adopter. That obsession leads to a whole bunch of misconceptions which in turn warps the way tech people see the world. That's an important realization, imho, because the result of that world view is a bunch of technology (created by the tech community) that never reaches the mass market.
Never reaches the mass market because it's focus is narrowly aimed at early adopters. Anyway, something to think about...