Employees of the application company Poynt wait outside the Third Street Promenade Apple store on Monday. The group has been waiting in front since Saturday and will be waiting until the release of the IPhone 4 on Thursday. (photo by Brandon Wise)

PROMENADE — The iPhone 4 does not come out until Thursday, but a group of five people has been camping outside of the Apple store at the Third Street Promenade since Saturday morning in anticipation of its release.

But these young adults are not hardcore iPhone enthusiasts. They are there to promote an iPhone and Blackberry app called Poynt that helps users locate restaurants, movies and gas stations, among other businesses.

The Poynt representatives will give away their spots in line on Thursday morning to five other people in line who have the app on their phones. As far as the representatives know, Poynt is the only company using the line for the iPhone 4 to hold such a promotion.

“We were just hoping to get [Poynt] out there and do a social experiment,” said Allie Hernandez, one of the Poynt representatives. “A lot of companies are dabbling in social media, and we thought this would be a fun, lively place.”

Among other new features, the iPhone 4 is capable of video calling, has a 960-pixel by 640-pixel resolution and records video in high definition. It costs $199 for the 16 gig version and $299 for the 32 gig phone.

The group was not planning on starting to camp out until Monday, but plans changed when they heard a man in Dallas, Justin Wagoner, began camping last Thursday. Unlike the representatives, who are camping for work, Wagoner is a dedicated Apple fan who wanted to be one of the first people to get the iPhone 4. He has been the first customer to get new Apple products at that store in Dallas since the iPhone 3G was released in 2008, according to a blog he is keeping of his camping experiences.

“We thought if he could brave it in Dallas weather, why can’t we,” Hernandez said.

Though new releases from Apple often prompt frenzies including early, long lines, the promenade store was not prepared for people to camp out as early as Saturday, the Poynt representatives said. A Santa Monica ordinance prevents sitting or lying down on sidewalks — as the campers are doing — between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. without a permit, which the store has not yet received. The store is currently working on getting a permit for the Poynt representatives and others who are expected to begin camping prior to Thursday, Hernandez said.

Employees at the store deferred comment to Apple’s national public relations representatives, who could not be reached for comment by phone or e-mail Monday.

Though they are camping for five days, the Poynt representatives said they are hardly “roughing it.” Friends and co-workers who live nearby have held their places in line while they shower or change at their friends’ houses. They have taken advantage of the shops around them to make their camping more comfortable, getting sweat pants to warm up at night from Victoria’s Secret and doing their nails with polish from Sephora.

They have also been enjoying the street performers and have been chronicling their adventures on Facebook and Twitter. Some of their experiences so far have included learning to juggle from a street performer, sword fighting with balloon swords, watching rival street performers fight for territory in front of them and meeting actor Ray Liotta from “Goodfellas.”

Reactions from passersby have ranged from supportive to shocked to critical, Hernandez said.

“We’ve had a couple people come and express their anger toward capitalism and commercialism. There’s one guy who keeps coming up to us saying we’re the downfall of American society,” she said.

Dave Stem, a pedestrian who stopped to talk to them Monday, said he commends their dedication, though he would never camp out himself despite the fact his iPhone screen is cracked and he wants the iPhone 4.

“My first thought is: nerds,” he said. “My second thought is: good for them.”


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *