Lining up for the iPhoneSince I was going to the Irvine Spectrum for lunch anyway, I figured I’d drop by the Apple Store and see how many people were there for the iPhone launch. I walked by around 1:50pm, about 4 hours before the event, and sure enough there were a bunch of people lined up all along the shops.

You can see some lawn chairs and umbrellas. The campers are sort of hidden in the shade, which is why I upped the brightness on the second picture. Of course, I’m sure everyone waiting in line appreciated the shade. Those shadows will only get longer over the course of the afternoon, and while there’s a nice breeze once you get out into more open areas, the corridors of the mall are better at channeling people than wind.

Looking toward the Apple StoreWhen I walked by the first time, I only noticed the line running to that corner you can see at the end, maybe 3 storefronts down. About 10 minutes later, after stopping at Kelly’s Coffee, I saw that they were wrapped around that corner, almost the entire length of Forever 21, and stopped at the edge of the patio for the restaurant next door.

Not a huge line—I’ve waited in much longer lines for movies—but bigger than I expected for a phone.

We were at the grocery store earlier today, and Katie was grumbling about the stylus-only touch screens they had for entering a PIN. Unlike actual keypads, you can’t hide the number you’re entering, because you have to move that stylus around instead of 10-keying it in.

On one hand, a touch screen with a stylus is great for visual feedback and for collecting signatures, because the store can keep things on file digitally instead of or in addition to a paper copy. And once you’ve got that, it’s reasonable to drop the keypad, since you can simulate it in the touch screen. But unless it can react as quickly as actual buttons, and react to fingers instead of a stylus, it can’t completely replace the way a keypad is actually used.

An even better example is checkout line at Fry’s. Continue reading