May I Smash Open Your New iPhone, Please?
The strange allure of unboxing and tearing apart new gadgets.
People stand in line for lots of different kinds of things: sneakers, concert tickets, reality-show auditions. But gadget fans exhibit particularly curious rituals as they're waiting to get their hands on their most-coveted items. In addition to ripping gadgets apart like Wiens and company, many gizmo freaks go ape over "unboxings"—yes, pictures of tech toys being taken out of boxes.
The Web abounds with clips and galleries of people unpacking their latest purchases. For those not obsessed with gadgets, the coverage can seem excessive, even unnatural. Who cares what Apple's mighty mouse looks like when you take it out of the box? For gadget lovers, the appeal is obvious. Today's best devices are preceded by months of rumor, commentary, and online lust—by the time the thing's finally ready to be taken out of a box, people can barely contain themselves. Plus, a gadget is never as good as when it comes right out of the box. Why not document this one, perfect moment?
Click here for a slide-show essay on the allure of unboxing and ripping apart gadgets.
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Farhad Manjoo is Slate's technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.