Apple fans often queue overnight to get their hands on the company’s latest releases, but this is the first time a robot has been used to do so.
Some super busy buyers have been known to pay stand-ins to queue outside the Apple Store for them, but now one Australian woman has gone one better and used a robot to hold her place in line, writes Katie Collins for CNET.
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Robot takes the strain while Lucy stays at home
Lucy Kelly sent a “telepresence robot” to wait in line outside the Apple Store in Sydney, Australia, so that she can go about her usual business while also being one of the first to get the new iPhone 6s. According to a report in Mashable, Lucy borrowed the robot from the marketing company she works for, and it is currently the subject of great public interest. The robot is made by Double Robotics.
Despite the fact that you can order online and receive your Apple device on launch day, there are almost always long queues outside stores. While some of those queuing are Apple superfans, others take a place in line as part of publicity stunts or to raise awareness for certain causes.
Lucy’s robot, also called Lucy, is fourth in line as things stand. Physical Lucy says that she will come and take the robot’s place in the evening, bedding down for the night in a tent before buying her iPhone 6s when the store opens at 8am tomorrow. Due to timezones, Australia is the first country in the world to get its hands on new Apple devices.
Media agency boss to thank for ingenious idea
The robot uses an app which allows the user to connect from anywhere and communicate through the iPad. Lucy has been able to communicate with fellow Apple fans in the queue, and has also been chatting with curious passersby.
Another curious story in the queue is that of Lindsay Handmer, an entrepreneur who is first in line after arriving 17 days ago. Sydney is currently pretty cold at night, and many other fans only arrived on Thursday due to the weather.
The idea came thanks to Lucy’s boss at media agency Atomic 212, which uses the telepresence robots in its office. “I wanted to be one of the first people to have the iPhone 6S, but obviously because of work I can’t spend two days standing in line waiting for a mobile phone,” real Lucy told Mashable. “So my boss said, ‘Just take the robot down, you’ll still be able to do your work, but you’ll still be waiting in line.'”
Telepresence robots growing in popularity
Given the growing presence of 4G internet and the ubiquity of smart phones, could we soon be able to be in two places at once, albeit represented by a Segway with an iPad on top. Lucy seems to think that the technology will grow in popularity.
“We use them for everything, just to show new technology. It is a cool demonstration of what the future of technology will be,” Kelly told Mashable Australia. “We are obsessed with them.”
The robots were also used in hit U.S. television show “Modern Family,” and mean that the user can move around of their own accord. It looks like a win-win for Lucy and her boss; she gets an iPhone while her boss can bask in the media attention the stunt brought to the company.