It’s Tuesday. That means it’s iPhone 5 day, but one intrepid Apple fan isn’t waiting to get the skinny on what, when and where Apple plans to release. Instead, Rob Shoesmith set up camp outside the Covent Garden Apple Store in London, U.K., to be first in line for the iPhone 5, sight unseen.
Shoesmith announced his plan to line up for a month in anticipation of the iPhone 5 back in March. He works in PR for MEDL media, and in order to make sure his campout is comfortable and sustainable, he sought out free gear and services from companies. In exchange, those brands get featured spots in the press coverage and TV interviews. Shoesmith has been successful in lining up ever since making his experiment public, and he is documenting the experience on his official blog.
Originally, Shoesmith’s plan was to wait for an announcement from Apple, he told me, and then to head to the Covent Garden store when he felt it was a safe bet that the phones were a month out. Later, when an announcement seemed to be continually delayed, he thought about betting on a rumored date. Anyone who covers the frenzy of iPhone 5 prelaunch rumors can tell you, however, that sussing out a firm date ahead of any actual announcement is nearly impossible.
Instead, after one false start (a photo of him and his tent sparked reports that he’d already started camping earlier this year), Shoesmith decided again to wait for some official sign. That sign came in the form of Apple’s planned media event, which takes place later today at 10 a.m. Pacific time (we’ll have live blog coverage here at GigaOM). I asked Shoesmith what he’d do if Apple’s announcement doesn’t include the U.K. as an initial launch country; he said he’d be prepared to wait an extra month, if that’s what it takes.
In preparation, Shoesmith has amassed quite a stock of goods. Aside from the tent and other necessities, items like a travel sick bag and earplugs to block out the sound of potential hecklers are also in his kit. Shoesmith intends to use everything provided to him over the course of his stay outside the Apple Store, which is only fair considering they were mostly provided to him in a promotional capacity.
If rumors prove right, Shoesmith may not have long to wait; a release around Oct. 14 or 15 seems a strong possibility. Even so, speaking as someone who’s camped out for just a single night in order to be among the first to get an iPhone, I don’t envy him.