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Bill Barol Headshot

iWant

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Yes, yes, of course I want an iPhone. The promotion of the thing has reached such a delirious pitch, and the coverage attained such ubiquity, that it almost seems superfluous to say it. But with a full, excruciating two days before I can get my mitts on one, I'm left to other pursuits. Like sitting here slack-jawed at the evil genius of the Apple marketing machine.

Consider yesterday's development, in which the company managed to whip the faithful up into a whole fresh frenzy by releasing details of -- wait for it -- the activation process. (Oh yeah. Oh baby. Talk about bringing sexy back.) In case you missed it, the relevant nuggest of nerdly goodness is that buyers will be able to activate their iPhones at home via the iTunes store, for maximum iEase and iConvenience. This is cool on the face of it, but the brilliance of the idea lies a little deeper. Apple sprang the activation scheme on the day, practically at the hour when stories started to hit the wires about super-early adopters lining up outside of Apple stores. Or, to look at it from another angle, precisely at the moment when potential buyers were starting to think: Man, that's gonna be a zoo. And then you gotta hang around while they activate the thing? Naah. Maybe I'll wait. Maybe I'll... I don't know. Talk to my wife this weekend or something. Right at that moment, from its secret marketing lab hidden deep in a hollowed-out volcano, Apple unleashes the new, streamlined activation model. With video. Do you see what they've done? They've figured out a way to beam directly into buyers' brains and deconstruct every possible impediment to purchase. (Back in line, Monkey Boy, and apologies to your wife.)

Yesterday was also the day the embargo on official reviews expired, which meant that in a matter of moments the big three technology columnists (Walt Mossberg of the Wall St. Journal and All Things Digital, David Pogue of The New York Times and Steven Levy of Newsweek) weighed in. Their verdicts were positive, on balance. But they were also, and I mean this with no disrespect to the writers, all of whom I admire, irrelevant. The people who will buy on Friday won't be dissuaded, even if Mossberg tells them the iPhone burns the skin from your fingertips and emits a toxic gas. The first-day success stories are already written. The only thing left to do is get out of the way.