Mandatory In-store activation of 3G iPhone threatens “unboxing photos” industry - Macenstein

Mandatory In-store activation of 3G iPhone threatens “unboxing photos” industry

Above: Ansel Adams pioneered the “unboxing” genre with his breathtaking shots of the Atari 2600 at Mt. Williamson.

The long and rich tradition of Mac blogs rushing to be the first to post their “unboxing” photos to the interweb was dealt a horrible blow this Monday, when Apple and AT&T jointly announced that the new 3G iPhone must be activated in-store by authorized personnel.

“This is horrible,” says Josh, a blogger who focuses primarily on the Apple-side of the tech industry. “Despite all the hype surrounding Apple product launches, people do not truly believe Apple has released something until they see grainy pictures of someone opening the box on their kitchen table. Without these shots, I fear many will doubt the 3G iPhone even exists.”

Josh is not the only one worried. Last year, the unboxing photo industry generated just over $6.7 billion (US) in revenue, a total that has now surpassed the movie industry. One professional unboxing photographer, who wished to remain nameless, explained the appeal of the unboxing shots. “The unboxing ceremony dates back to the legendary unboxing shots of the Atari 2600 taken by Ansel Adams on Mt. Williamson. His shots inspired thousands of photographers, myself included, and single-handedly launched the unboxing photo industry. Apple’s new activation scheme threatens to put a big dent in our 2008 tax returns.”

Above: AnandTech’s 2007 award-winning series of iPhone unboxing photos helped prove to the world that the 1st gen iPhone really was for sale, and actually could be purchased and brought home, like Apple had claimed.

Unboxing Videographers to be hit the worst

In recent years, the unboxing industry has made tentative strides into the waters of “video unboxing” where live video is taken of the opening of various technology ranging from Tivos to PS3’s to the pinnacle of unboxing lore, Apple’s iPhone. “Video unboxing has the added benefit of being harder to fake,” says Jules Bentley, head of the West Coast Unboxers Alliance. “But unfortunately, it is often seen as less appealing to the viewer, as the videographers often come across as douche bags – they usually talk throughout the video, adding an air of muffled creepiness to them. They also take too long, often awkwardly fumbling with both camera and box simultaneously, and the videos are often poorly lit. It is a bit like watching poorly shot porn.”

While odds are the established photo unboxing industry will survive the iPhone’s in-store activation process, the less popular video unboxing may not. “I don’t think Apple even cares,” says Bentley, idly scrubbing through a very amateurish Grand Teft Auto 4 video unboxing on YouTube.

“Look at how bad this is!” he says, tapping on the screen. “This guy is just more or less unwrapping cellophane, there isn’t even a box. And look how he struggles with the security sticker holding the case closed. How is this guy going to get any better if he cannot practice unboxing at home?”

[Thanks to MacRumors member Zolk for the inspiration]

14 Responses to “Mandatory In-store activation of 3G iPhone threatens “unboxing photos” industry”
  1. TheCos says:

    OMG, you’re right! I hope Bush bails them out with some sort of economic stimulus plan…

  2. Jen says:

    Ha ha. I never understood the obsession with unboxing photos!

  3. Dak says:

    This is by far the funniest post I have ever read on macenstein.

    This goes right along with my post a few days ago. The new iPhone isn’t $200 cheaper, it is like $1500 more expensive. With the old one you could just buy it and use it as a bangin’ ipod touch with a camera and voip acting as your cell service.

    Big disappointment.

  4. JC says:

    Lol, good to see Macenstein pushing the boundaries of investigative tech journalism.

  5. emilcar says:

    I will take photos of the unboxing of my 3G iPhone at the Movistar store (Spain) using my jailbreaked iPhone 2G 🙂

  6. lee says:

    why cant they just bring there camera, a small table and what not in the store.. video or take pics as the mac guy or genius or any authorized at&t personel unboxing it.. four hands is better than two.. plus that person will have more practice.. that is if your not first in line.. throw in a newspaper that has the days date visible on it.. it’ll make for a more poorly shot porn video, but current..

  7. Haha, hilarious post! I remember when last month, when I had my MacBook Pro replaced, the Mac Genius unboxed the replacement laptop himself and I got so mad!

  8. Falldog says:

    I lol’d heartily

  9. Hilarious.

    If the first-gen iPhone camera were any good people could unbox their 3G in-store and upload the unboxing pics. And, If the iPhone camera had video capability the possibilities would be incredible!

  10. ArtOfWarfare says:

    … it is a joke… right? I was thinking it as real because MacRumors isn’t the kind of site to post jokes or links to jokes (not even on April Fools,) and they posted a link right to here…

    Well… lqtm (laughing quietly to myself.)

  11. Gary says:

    The best thing about apple products getting home and opening them!

  12. Bambeezer says:

    $6.7 billion (US) in revenue??? No way. I call BS on that.

  13. athelstan says:

    er…Bambeezer, would it help if Adam Sandler were to read it in a funny voice, or should someone just sit you down and gently explain it ?

    best post in a long time….

  14. Lane says:

    poor 2600 it got me through my childhood with Asteroids in the home (Finally) R.I.P although it would e fun to have one for nostalgia purposes, would certainly bring back childhood memories, (I was 6 when they came out). maybe I’ll hit ebay.


Leave A Comment


Click here to inquire about making a fortune by advertising your game, gadget, or site on Macenstein.