by Brian Solis

Line outside of Apple store in San Francisco 6:30 am PST

Last year, the iPhone was thrust into the spotlight and into our culture forever changing the business of mobile phones and the design of consumer electronics across every product landscape. Scores of anxious consumers lined up outside of Apple retail stores around the country days in advance of its official introduction hoping for the opportunity to be among the first to own and experience the “Jesus Phone.”

I think we all know the rest of the story. For those who want to relieve 6.29.07, here are pictures of the Palo Alto and San Francisco debuts.

Fast forward one year and 11 days later, the iPhone 3G – version 2.0 of the beloved extension to our inner soul, made its debut and the world watched and again thousands of fans lined up in anticipation.

I woke up extra early on 7.11.08, grabbed the camera and headed over to San Francisco to capture the excitement.

This year however, the lines started much closer to the launch over last year. That’s to be expected though, simply because the upgrades, while important, weren’t as compelling as the introduction of the lifestyle enhancing and changing iPhone 1.0.

The number 1, 2, and 3 persons in line set up camp on Wednesday. Dale, #1, a mobile marketing consultant, enjoyed the comforts of true camping, complete with tent, air matrix, blankets, and a chair.

Patrick Scoble with #2 JP Kelly (far right) and #3 Ilan Fehler

When I arrived, I was greeted by an excited and spirited community of Apple enthusiasts. It was lively and embracing. I said hello to good friends Robert Scoble, MG Siegler, Dylan Tweney, Adam Jackson and made new friends in the process.

Sam Levin, Patrick Scoble, Robert Scoble, Nick Starr, Tyler Howarth, Dominic Sagolla, James Warne

As 8 a.m. approached, the line stretched around the corner and was roughly 250-300 people long. An interesting side note however, is that the line was only 10-12 people deep until 4′ish a.m. the day of the launch. The VentureBeat team distributed doughnuts and Apple employees poured coffee for those in line.

Shortly before the doors opened, that drape that blocked our view of the inside of the store fell to reveal a staged positioning of apple employees applauding those in line. It was quite brilliant and it recharged the fatigued, but giddy iPhone loyalists who were more than ready to satisfy their quest.

As the doors opened, employees handed out high fiver’s for everyone. It would be another 45 minutes until Dale, Ilan and JP would emerge having successfully completed the transaction of buying and paying for the iPhone 3G – AT&T and Apple systems were crushed during new sales and activations as customers rushed stores from the East Coast to the West Coast.

From here, I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:

MG Siegler of VentureBeat

Dylan Tweney of Wired

Dominic Sagolla, organizer of iPhoneDevCamp

Channel 5 counts the minutes until 8 a.m.

Jackson West of Valleywag

Robert Scoble and Patrick Scoble live on Qik

Broadcast media gets ready

Customers make their way to the Genius Bar

Adam Jackson with his new iPhone 3G

UPDATE: Apple announced that it sold over 1 million iPhone 3G’s worldwide in one weekend.

For additional pictures of the Apple iPhone 3G launch in San Francisco, please visit my album on flickr.

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pownce, Plaxo, FriendFeed, or Facebook

About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at


    no imageadam jackson (Who am I?)12 July 2008 2:22 pm

    Thanks Brian for the photos placement :)

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    no imageTom Diederich (Who am I?)12 July 2008 8:11 pm

    Great post (and great photos), Brian.

    I have the “old” iPhone and with the update to Version 2.0 of the software, I am very happy with it. Fast enough for me — has all the same apps as the 3G iPhones.

    In other words, I have wait until I can convince my wife to take my old phone before getting the 3G version. :-)

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    no imageNousha (Who am I?)13 July 2008 11:14 am

    These lines were crazy!Will go check it out today, it may be more quite:-)

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