Standing in line is rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. Except, of course, when Apple is involved. Friday marked the worldwide release of Apple’s latest version of its OSX operating system for Macs, dubbed “Leopard.” So, crowds gathered outside Apple Stores around the world to pick up the sexy new cat.
Now, I wasn’t planning on joining the party yesterday. Sure, I’m an Apple fan, and I was one of those nerds who stood in line for the iPhone on June 29 and paid the $200 “stupid tax.” But when it comes to OSX upgrades, I’m generally a laggard. My computer already does everything I need it to do, so what’s the hurry? And on Saturday, my MacBook was shipped off to the mainland to replace the fan an optical drive. I figured that I wouldn’t even have a Mac to upgrade.
But then I read that FastMac was going to be giving away free T-shirts at Apple Stores (in addition to the free T-shirts Apple would be giving away), and was asking for volunteer Mac fans to play Santa on Oct. 26. On a lark, I said, “Hey, don’t forget Hawaii!” And the next thing I knew, a box of FastMac T-shirts was on its way. And then, wonder of wonders, my MacBook returned to my arms on Thursday. It was a sign.
So, yes, after work yesterday, I headed over to the Apple Store at Ala Moana. (Most of my friends opted to hit the Kahala Mall location to enjoy air conditioned comfort.) At 4:30 p.m., there were maybe 50 people in line, and I quickly struck up conversations with several of them… ultimately giving away several FastMac T-shirts to slightly bewildered but friendly Apple fans.
You can see other FastMac shirt fun at the FastMac Blog.
As the magical moment neared, the line grew to about 300 people. I was amused to hear the Ala Moana security guard explaining the hubbub to confused shoppers. Every time he had to explain what an “operating system” was, the resigned look on his face was priceless. Apple Store employees came by periodically to cheer, hoot, holler, and pass out water. And then, finally, at 6 p.m., the doors opened, and Leopard had its last U.S. launch in the Aloha State.
Smirking at the fact that I was being applauded as I pulled out my wallet, I picked up my copy of Leopard, chatted with my favorite Apple Store employees, and got a short demo of the new features of iChat. Of course I was able to lifecast the whole adventure — live, streaming video of the month’s geekiest event. You can watch the event here.