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The iPhone 5 Experiment: Genius or Madness?

21st September 2011

Even if you're not an Apple fan, it's hard to overlook the growing rumours about Apple's next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 5. It will probably have a bigger screen, better camera and faster processor, but whatever it is it will be better than iPhone 4 (unless they accidentally re-issue the original iTunes phone somehow).

Now, although everyone at Mobile Gazette likes shiny new gadgets, we don't particularly want to queue for them, but Apple fans don't seem to mind and each new product release is normally accompanied by news footage of people in line wanting to be amongst the first to have whatever the latest iDevice is.

But if you want to actually be the very first person in the queue at the local Apple retailer, then that requires even more commitment. Some people apparently really do camp out overnight in order to be first in the queue.. perhaps even a lot of people. Wouldn't it be annoying to turn up to the Apple store with your tent to find that other people have been there for days?

It turns out that a guy called Rob Shoesmith is really, really keen to be the first in the queue for the iPhone 5. So much so, that intends to start camping outside the Covent Garden Apple Store in London before as soon at it been announced, while relying on the kindness of strangers and companies for material support.

 Rob Shoesmith An application developer for MEDL Mobile by night and a trash collector by day, Rob's alfresco arrangements are perhaps not as nutty as they first seem. Although a strange desire to be first in the queue is definitely part of it, he is also promoting his company and providing a novel advertising platform for his supporters through his iPhone 5 Experiment website.

The key rule he has set himself if that he should spend no money as part of this exercise, instead relying on donations and offers of help. So far, he's had offers of goods and services worth about £40,000 for the experiment, and he says that anything left over will be donated to charity. Stuff that he has been offered ranges from a personal trainer to free meals plus thousands of dollars worth of gadgets.

The whole thing has gone a bit viral, and there seems to be quite a lot of interest in Rob's determination to be the first in line. There's a touch of the Million Dollar Homepage about the idea. We have to confess that we think that this is a work of genius and madness at the same time.

Well, the past couple of days have turned up good news and bad news. One rumour is that Apple plan to announce their new iPhone on October 4th. Another rumour is that Samsung (who are involved in a bitter legal war with Apple) may try to get the iPhone 5 banned in Europe. With those nights getting colder and colder, we can only imagine that Rob would like Apple to hurry up..

You can keep up with the latest news in the experiment on Twitter or through his blog.

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