From the vaults: Madness and sanity (22/09/12)

Birmingham, like other cities around the UK, indeed around the globe, was log-jammed yesterday with brand-loyal fanatics insistent on being among the very first. Apple had launched the latest incarnation of its staggeringly successful iPhone dynasty and pre-orders were ready for collection; collection in some cases by people who had ‘camped’ since lunchtime on the previous day.

I know virtually nothing about mobile phones and the iPhone 5 is probably technologically brilliant and intuitively clever in all sorts of ways; although apparently the maps don’t work particularly well. What baffled me was that so many people – many of them well into their adult years – would not be able to contain their impatience for even a day. And Birmingham was, by all accounts, a study in orderly calm compared with some places – Manchester for example, where scuffles broke out among those in the queue.

Pricing for the iPhone 5 starts from just £529!

Earlier today we found a spot a few feet below the ridge of the Malverns – just far enough below to be out of the wind (an easterly carrying the first warning bite of autumn), sat and ate cheese and pickle sandwiches, flapjacks and fruit, drank cups of freshly brewed tea. We watched the birds in the foreground, the undulating countryside of Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the middle distance, the hills of mid Wales and Shropshire on the horizon.

The bill for the whole day – including the cost of fuel and the car park – would have struggled to reach fifteen quid.