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TMO at Macworld - iPhone: Look But Don't Touch

by , 2:00 PM EST, January 10th, 2007

San Francisco, CA -- After spending an entire keynote discussing the iPhone, you'd naturally expect the product to take center stage at Apple's booth on the show floor here at the Macworld Conference and Expo. But for whatever reason -- be it limited hardware supply, incomplete software, or executive decision -- the only way to see the iPhone in person is through an inch of lucite.

The phone stands about six feet high, encased in a clear cylinder. Personnel nearby keep the case clear of fingerprints. A hundred feet away, there's a stage where booth staff repeatedly demonstrate the iPhone's key features. This space was completely packed with attendees all day Tuesday.

The fact that the iPhone isn't available for tinkering doesn't seem to bother the folks at Apple very much. They have decided to take their limited quantities of iPhones and use them for demos or extremely slick displays. The result is a sense of luxury, and of a product that is pointedly unattainable. The displays, then, fit perfectly with Apple's image as a purveyor of high-end, touchable, beautiful and lustworthy products.

In fact, the two iPhones in lucite are the only viewable instances of the product at the show, creating a sense that they are the only ones that exist in the world. If the public reaction is any indication, though, those proud and lonely iPhones will be spawning rapidly come June.

Apple's new iPhone at Macworld in San Francisco. Image Credit: John F. Braun

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