The old carnival freak show is dead and gone (or has at least moved to reality television and daytime talk shows). But in our hearts, we still long to gawk at the strange and the bizarre.
That's why iPhone culture is so entertaining. The hype around Apple's first cell phone -- sometimes generating enthusiasm bordering on insanity -- has produced some of the wackiest, nuttiest and, yes, freakiest news stories ever witnessed in the history of technology.
So prepare to be amazed, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up and take a front-row seat for Steve Jobs' unintended sideshow attractions.
The Lobster-Thumb Boy
The North Denver News published a story August 8 that reported that 28-year-old Thomas Martel, of Bonnie Brae, had his thumbs "surgically narrowed with a revolutionary new surgical technique known as 'whittling'" in order to save time while typing on his iPhone. The story was fake, of course, but hundreds of bloggers believed it and reported it as true. Weird!
World's Fattest Phone Bill
It turns out that AT&T itemizes every instance of iPhone Internet access. That means every text message, every Web connection -- everything -- even though those instances generally don't cost extra. As a result, Pittsburgh graphic designer and blogger Justine Ezarik received her first iPhone bill in a box -- 300 pages worth. Page after page listed items called "Data Transfer," each costing "$0.00." Naturally, Ezarik posted a video of the "unboxing" on her blog.
Although Ezarik's bill was the world's fattest, the total came to just US$275. Another iPhone customer and blogger, Adam Aronson, received the world's largest bill so far: US$5,086.66. He blogged about it and in the post said the high cost came from roaming charges incurred when he took his iPhone to England. He didn't make any calls; he just used the Internet. Amazing!
The Elastic iPhone
Everyone wants an iPhone these days -- even Gumby! One overzealous enthusiast built a life-size replica of an iPhone out of clay, including icons, ports, buttons, cradle -- even the box! Freaky!