Want to get an iPhone 5 on Friday? You'll probably need to wait in line. Or pay someone to do it for you.
Hipster-looking shoppers already have plopped down in folding chairs outside Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.
And in San Francisco, a man working through a micro-tasking company (more on what that means in a second) has been diligently waiting in line, for a price, since Monday.
"You're going to wait here until Friday? God watch over you," a stranger told that person, who was using a service called TaskRabbit, according to his Twitter feed.
TaskRabbit nabbed the first-in-line spot to try to promote its online service that allows people to pay someone else to do a menial task for them. In this case, according to CNET, you can find people online who for about $40 to $150 will stand in line to purchase the iPhone 5 on your behalf.
That sort of idea isn't all that new, and line-standers also are offering their services on craigslist. "If you are looking to buy the iPhone 5 when it is released, but not looking to stand in the line. I'll do it for you!" wrote one person in Los Angeles. "I'll get in line at 6 a.m. for 40 bucks. Camp overnight for 70," wrote another stander, this one from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Other people are posting craigslist ads asking others to stand in line for them. One such ad, in Los Angeles, says the patron will offer the stander "a reasonable amount" ... "and on top of that, I'll even buy you breakfast."
For those who don't want to spend even more than the hefty price tag for the iPhone, but do want to pick up a phone on Friday, perhaps the line is the way to go.
Unless you hopped online within the first hour or so last Friday, pre-ordered iPhones aren't expected to arrive for weeks.
But plan to get up early on Friday morning.
While opening-day iPhone lines vary by location -- what passes as early enough at a Radio Shack in Boise may not work for the Apple store in Brooklyn -- analysts generally say advance consumer demand for the iPhone 5 is outpacing previous models. Early reviews of the phone have been positive.
Apple recently announced it had received 2 million pre-orders for the new phone, which is taller, faster, lighter and slimmer than the previous model, the iPhone 4S. That's about double what the company experienced for the previous iPhone, Apple said.
That could foreshadow long lines. Or it could mean more consumers are skipping the line-waiting game and, instead, have chosen to order the phone online.
The line waits are part exercise in extreme consumerism, part homage to Apple.
Last year some of the line-standers made pilgrimages to Apple stores in part out of a sense of tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died a week before the phone went on sale. Fans set up mini-memorials in his honor at some Apple stores.
To get a sense of what the most dedicated Apple fans are willing to go through, check out this chart from The Atlantic, which shows the longest Apple gadget waits.
If you're just in the market for purchasing the new iPhone, not the in-line circus, there are several other stores that plan to carry the iPhone 5 on Friday.
They include AT&T, Sprint and Verizon stores, as well as select Best Buy, RadioShack, Target and Walmart locations. Check with stores in your area for details.
Still want to brave the Apple store? Doors open at 8 a.m. local time Friday in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK. The iPhone 5 will roll out to 22 more countries on September 28.
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