Waiting in line for the latest iPhone gadget is a tedious task—people camp out for days and wait in line for the hope of nabbing the newest smartphone model. Now, robots can do the lining up for you.
In New Zealand, where consumers got an early start purchasing iPhones courtesy of the time difference, miniature Alpha 1 robots stood in line for a hundred people. The "robot army" was purchased by Spark, an Apple carrier in New Zealand, for select customers to save their time while waiting in a queue. "Technology these days is so much more advanced than it used to be, so why shouldn’t our customers have their tech queue for them instead?" Spark’s Clive Ormerod told Voice of America.
The robots, created by Chinese company UBtech, have been in line since Sept. 9 when Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Customers who have a bot waiting in line for them have the ability keep an eye on their robot through a live stream. The robots can also be controlled through the phone, as they are programmed to do push-ups, dance, bust into a yoga pose or do kung fu.
"Queuing is an iconic part of new device fan culture," said Ormerod, reports CNET. "We wanted to give our existing customers an experience of the atmosphere and excitement of the queue, without actually having to line up and wait it out until launch day. By having a robot queue for them, they can get on with their lives and still be first to get the newest device."
For some robot masters, like Dr. Michelle Dickinson, having a robot opens up an array of possibilities. Dickinson, who named her robot Nanobot, is coding her bot so it can do other things.
“He’s great – he’s already programmed to complete movements and tasks, but I’m pushing myself to code him to do even more,” told Dickinson to Sparkz.
Today, the hundred lucky customers received their iPhone devices and got to keep their robot as well.
— Trish Sherson (@TrishSherson) September 8, 2016