Camping outside Apple for the iPhone 5 in style – The iPhone 5 Experiment (Interview)


Rob Shoesmith
Rob Shoesmith

Rob Shoesmith has decided to camp outside Apple for up to a month in anticipation of the iPhone 5, but he plans on doing it with a bit of class! In our interview with him below, find out how he plans to be fully entertained by a magician, fed by a baker, and even get his laundry done, all while he wait’s in line for an iPhone 5.

iPIPB: Hi Robert, before we begin can you tell us a little about your company and your history with Apple’s iPhone?

Robert: I’m from Coventry UK and work for a US based app developer called MEDL Mobile as a marketing and PR Executive. Now here is the interesting part. I’d studied Internet marketing at the University of Derby but due to a lack of maturity and finances on my part I had to quit my course early. I was heavily in debt and needed to find a job fast as a stopgap. I got an honest job as a trash collector for my local government and its funny how life pans out and 5 years later I was still emptying dustbins for a living. I got to the point where I was in desperate need of a change of career and wanted to find a career in tech marketing and PR. I just NEEDED a break but knew if I approached a PR company with my current job title as Trash Collector on my resume (excuse the pun) it would have been put in the bin. I love being un-traditional in my approach to things. I was browsing the App Store and came across an app called the App Incubator by MEDL Mobile. The app allows users the ability to send them ideas for iPhone and Android apps without needing to have coding or programming skills. In return for the idea, if the company like it they will pay the full developments cost and share the profits with the person who submitted the idea to them.I went about brainstorming a lot of app ideas and submitted an idea called Problem Halved to them. Problem Halved is an agony aunt style application and I generated a lot of media coverage!


MEDL Mobile were really impressed with my ability to generate huge press and offered me a part time job helping to get other people to have their apps developed get noticed.

Then a few months ago they offered me a full time job with them as a marketing and PR executive that I gladly accepted! The last couple of years have truly been life changing for me.

iPIPB: There seems to be a trending history of people camping out for Apple products – particularly the iPad and iPhone, but you are taking this to the next level in terms of duration, and you won’t be spending a penny the whole time! Tell us about the project? – Where you got the idea? When/Where will you start ?

Robert: Apple as a company has such a huge marketing and media influence I thought to myself would it be possible to live indirectly off this influence via donations from companies and individuals for up to a month camping outside the Apple Store in Convent Garden Central London. There is one rule to the experiment. I can’t spend any of my own money once I set up camp. My intention is to begin camping out once Apple reveal the official release date.

iPIPB: Apart from your love of the iPhone, why are you doing this?
Robert:Part of the experiment will involve talking to the press and this will only stand me in good stead for my new role. It would be nice to make my mark in the tech marketing industry and I love what I do now and wake each morning looking forward to my working day ahead. Emptying dustbins was mind numbingly boring and I never want to go back to that kind of job and I want to make a huge success of the opportunity MEDL Mobile has given me.

I want to see just how extreme I could make the experiment. I mean how wild is it for a mobile laundry service to even offer to pick up my dirty washing and return them washed and laundered to my tent. I want to show the irony. One example is I will effectively be living on the streets but having top London restaurants delivering gourmet food to my tent! How ironic is this?

There is a lot of doom and gloom around the economy and I just want to entertain people in my blog posts and make them laugh and show them you can get what you want with no money. You just have to try hard and think outside of the box.I’ve had over 150 companies offer me help which is brilliant! I’m involved in promoting MEDL Mobile apps and a lot of these companies may be looking to develop apps for their brands in the future. It certainly helps having a dialogue with these companies.

iPIPB: Rumours on the internet suggest the iPhone 5 may be in short supply, none the less, is 1 month not too long to camp out?

Robert: To a lot of people a month sounds extreme. I have so many cool things lined up to blog about I don’t want to rush my blog posts and obviously I to thank the companies who have supplied their products to me.

iPIPB: You seem to have a lot of people supporting you with this project, such as a personal trainer and even a magician, have you been surprised by the media interest in this project? Tell us more about the support you have been offered?

Robert:Totally! I know the experiment would generate a fair amount coverage once the camp out begins but I wasn’t expecting how quickly and far the story has spread. I’ve even done interviews for Brazilian television. Chinese national newspapers and Al Jazeera news channel.

I have approximately 150 companies who have either offered their services or products to the experiment, which is amazing!

Highlights include:


–       A mobile laundry service to come and pick up my smelly clothes to wash and iron them.

–       A baker who will make me an IPhone cake to feed other 100 people.

–       A belly dancer who will be flying in from Scotland to keep me entertained.

–       Numerous bands who will come and entertain me with acoustic sets.

–       Top restaurants who will keep me fed and watered.

–       The offer of a 4 by 4 vehicle.

–       A freestyle soccer player to do some tricks and teach me some to.

—       Thousands of dollars worth of gadgets.

–        Camping equipment.

– Personal Assistant to run errands for me

– Gym to let me use their shower so I can keep clean and freshen up.

iPIPB: Have you come across many particularly difficult barriers in setting up this event?

Robert:Initially generating interest from companies about my experiment was difficult as I had no press interest, which they were looking for their products to be featured in, and my blog stats were poor and in some companies eyes there wouldn’t be a return on investment.

I found contacting smaller start up companies more effective than the larger corporate brands. Once I had these businesses on board I found larger companies starting to take note and before I knew it things really started to snowball in terms of product donations and media coverage. They kind of fuelled each other.

iPIPB:Will you be documenting the event while it’s in progress? We would love to be able to view your progress on Twitter once you start?

Robert: Yes of course! I will be blogging on my website at and on twitter at @shoesmith81 I will also be doing some live video streams at and uploading videos to my You tube Channel If companies or individuals would like to donate their help they can do so by emailing me at

iPIPB:What are you personally expecting from the iPhone 5?

Robert:I think Apple needs to make a big statement with their next iPhone as Android devices are getting a lot better. I hope to see the iPhone 5 sport the A5 chips and longer battery life. I’m looking forward to using IOS 5.

iPIPB: Best of luck Robert, we look forward to hearing how it goes!

John Ryan

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