The day the newest model of iPhone drops isn't an official holiday, but it might as well be. Apple, more than any other tech company, has mastered the art of hype on parr with Black Friday shopping and the countdown to Christmas. Today's in-store release of iPhone X, which Apple calls "the phone of the future" was possibly the most eagerly anticipated drop since the original iPhone came out 10 years ago.
I arrived at the company's temporary New York flagship as the store opened at 8 a.m., and a long line snaked back and forth along the side of the building, taking up almost an entire city block. Apple employees enthusiastically greeted customers with cheers as thumping music played. The Apple club was open and ready for business.
The iPhone X is Apple's most expensive iPhone yet, a device that's ushering in the era of the $1,000 smartphone. But for most of the women whom I spoke to, the steep price wasn't a deterrent — desire for shiny new features exceeded bank account pain.
Vanessa Martell, who joined her fiancé in line at the crack of dawn (he waited all night), described the $1,149 she spent for the 256 GB iPhone X as her "one guilty pleasure." Martell opted into a monthly payment plan, making the cost easier to stomach. Others, however, were ready to pay for the whole thing in one purchase.
"I'm just paying for it in full," Maegan Jamison, a New Yorker waiting in line outside the Fifth Avenue store told Refinery29. "I'm all about the hype to be honest with you. I've got to go big or go home."
Carly Feryus, who was the fourth person in line this morning, broke down the purchase in the same way Apple CEO Tim Cook has: "It's like a cup of coffee a day. It's not anything too crazy. I think the features warrant the value."
Most of the women I spoke with were most excited about the X's facial recognition. Although almost everyone expressed some hesitation about using their face, not their finger, to unlock the phone, they were willing to give it a try, and, some cases, serve as the household guinea pig. "My husband is happy I'm the test user of the household," Anne-Marie Hoxie told Refinery29.
Twitter is already filled with consumer reviews of the phone, many that put to rest worries that people had surrounding Apple's original announcement.
Other iPhone users have circulated an oft-repeated conspiracy theory about the performance of older iPhone models when a new version is released.
By the time I left the Apple store around 9:30 a.m., the line of customers still stretched down the block, and the beats were still pumping in the sleek white-walled space. This is one party Apple's going to keep going for days, weeks, and months to come.