There's a guy waiting out the front of the Apple Store on George Street in the Sydney CBD. He has two weeks to wait for the new iPhone to come out, but he has a plan. And a lawn chair. He has a lawn chair and a plan.
This story was originally posted at 12:45PM, September 10.
OK, full disclosure — this isn't just some guy, it's Lindsay Handmer, occasional freelance site editor for us, general friend of Gizmodo Australia and all-round tech geek. Apropos of nothing, on Tuesday, he sent us an email with the subject "some idiot is lining up for the iPhone in Sydney", but it was a surprise to open that email and see the words "...and it's me" right up the top. He has been there since the early morning that Tuesday, and with the new iPhones launching on September 25, he has another fortnight to go.
September 25th on sale. Yikes, lucky I love camping! pic.twitter.com/SrzwKbHg36
— Lindsay (@mysparetech) September 9, 2015
There's a reason behind what Lindsay is doing. He's using the opportunity — both the camp-out itself, and the opportunity of being first in line for the new $1079 iPhone 6s and $1299 6s Plus — to raise money for Mission Australia, a charity that supports homeless people around the country. He's raising money on the street, and auctioning off the first new iPhone in Australia come launch day, to send those funds straight on to charity.
Last year, we wrote this story — If You're In An iPhone Queue, Read This: It's Time To Give Back. In it, we wrote about the fact that many people camping out overnight to be some of the first in the world to buy a new iPhone might not even realise that Australia has over 100,000 homeless people at any time. Those people don't have the luxury of buying iPhones — they're sleeping rough because they usually don't have any income, let alone a disposable $1000 spare.
Day two begins - come say hi! pic.twitter.com/aiK5OLkGBn
— Lindsay (@mysparetech) September 8, 2015
I've already thrown a $20 towards Lindsay's GoFundRaise campaign for Mission Australia; I think his perseverance and commitment to sleeping in front of the Apple Store for a fortnight is worth praise (hell, I wouldn't even do it overnight), but doing it to make the plight of Australia's homeless more obvious is absolutely admirable. When you think about the cost of a new iPhone, a small donation barely figures as a rounding error. He's aiming for $5000.
Lindsay is also using the opportunity to launch a new site, an online classifieds (just like Gumtree or eBay) just for tech gear — it's called MySpareTech. If you've ever bought or sold something like an iPhone or a laptop or PC components, you'll know how much of a struggle it can be — no-one knows how much their gear is worth, and if you're lucky enough to find a potential buyer then you have to deal with the actual process of selling the gear. God knows I've had plenty of people promise to buy my old computer gear and then never actually transfer the cash...
Dedicated fans waiting for the doors to open! pic.twitter.com/EJ2v6kMoqX
— Lindsay (@mysparetech) September 8, 2015
MySpareTech has only just launched, and it's in the very early stages of development. It'll evolve with time, as users try it out — listings are free until the end of September, and will cost a couple of dollars after that — and the functionality will increase. But even in its beta state, you can still use it to list, sell or buy the excess tech junk lying around your house. I have a lot of that courtesy of this job, so I just might give MySpareTech a go. There are a bunch of example listings already up there, you can search, and it'll put you in touch with anyone already selling their stuff.
This September isn't quite as cold as last year, but sleeping outside on the footpath is still extremely tough — not just if you're out for a couple of weeks to spruik a new business and snag a new iPhone, but moreso if you're living on the street full-time without the security of a warm house to go home to at the end of the day. We applaud Lindsay taking the opportunity to raise awareness and raise money for those in need. You can check out his fundraiser, and also take a look at MySpareTech while you're at it.
And if you're in the area, stop by and say hi. He tells us he has some fun activities planned for when more people turn up in the line to keep him company — he has a mini projector, he says, and Night Of The Living Dead is a public domain film. The guys from Airtasker have already stopped by, and Lindsay is using that service for food deliveries (as well as relying on his long-suffering fiancee, of course). [GoFundRaise / MySpareTech]
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