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Friday, 25 March 2011

Remembering The iPad Sleepout

Hi there,

It’s hard to believe that just under a year ago I spent the night outside Apple’s Sydney city store; anticipating the launch of the then-new iPad 1.

It was a freezing night in May 2010, and with chance of a storm, it was bound to be a night I’d not soon forget. Those at home told me not to go, citing the weather as a deterrent for customers, but I knew I had a job to do. My mission was to put on my reporter hat, brave the cold, and film the pants off these crazy nerds.


Amanda (my girlfriend/camera operator) agreed to follow me in my madness. We got a taxi to the city and started by filming the crowd from across the road. They were huddled under umbrellas, resisting the short-term showers, grouped around several pre-obtained iPads. For them, the sleepout seemed less about the purchase than it was the camaraderie – together seeking a seemingly absurd goal. They loved the challenge, and I found it fascinating.

I was nervous to approach them. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome and wasn’t sure how willing they’d be to appear in my video. After filming some overlay of the store’s preparations, I approached the group with greetings, sussing them out for possible leads. We decided to halt production until the city slowed down; a perfect opportunity to go exploring.

Sadly, our journey stopped three doors up at the 24hr McDonalds – where we spent most of the waiting hours. It seemed a good place to find shelter, have incremental tea breaks, and use the bathrooms. Those in line took turns doing the same.

To stay awake, we regularly ate from the big arches – something that sickened us after not eating from there in years. I even ate a Filet-O-Fish at 3am. Needless to say my body hated me afterwards.

I interviewed several people - some who didn't make it into the finished video, but all were very kind and most were happy to share their stories; even after many sleepless hours. They put up with my stupidity: something I'm truly grateful for.

Far from the 'crazy nerds' I described earlier, I discovered that those waiting in line were actually quite admirable. They were there to support something they respected, with far more commitment than many of us are willing to

give to anything. That has to be commended.

Now, almost a year on, a new batch of people are waiting outside the Apple Store in the city. They are eating the same crap we did. They are using the same bathroom we did. They are sitting in the same line we sat in. Although I still don't completely understand it, I definitely respect them; now more-so than ever before.

Yours lovingly,
Jeremy Moses.

Twitter: @varietygarage

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