I ended last week with a couple hundred of my closest friends, waiting outside the Apple Store in San Francisco, as Apple prepared to release Leopard on a waiting world.
As the clock neared 6 p.m., the line from the store stretched to the end of the block. More and more passersby were struck with curiosity, and they just had to ask: “What are you standing in line for?”
“An operating system!” responded die-hard Apple fans with an air of pride.
Such was the vibe of the crowd waiting for OS X 10.5. About 200 loyal Apple fans stood in line that evening, with a wild demographic ranging from high school students to working professionals to retired parents looking for a fun way to spend Friday night in the city.
Standing in line for an operating system may seem strange to the uninitiated—it’s not like an iPhone that you can take right out of the box and wave triumphantly at your friends. (Indeed, unlike the iPhone’s launch, where people camped out all day, you could be first in line to get Leopard just by showing up a mere three hours ahead of time.) And if you ordered OS X 10.5 online, chances are you might have gotten it before the 6 p.m. release time Friday—you certainly would have saved yourself the trouble of queuing up. But most of those waiting in line Friday said it wasn’t just that they wanted to be the first owners of Leopard; they simply wanted to engage in the experience of anticipating a new Apple product. And they wanted to do it in a crowd of like-minded people.
“I like meeting all these people,” Tyler Howarth, the San Francisco State student who was first in line in San Francisco, told me as part of our launch-event coverage. “A lot of people come out here, and it’s mostly for the experience,”
But don’t take my word for it—our colleagues at IDG News Service taped some footage of the Leopard launch, which you can watch by clicking play on our video player.