FORTUNE -- "You don't need your iPhone," says the bearded young man with a cardboard sign every time someone takes his picture, "your iPhone needs you."
He says this quite often, because his picture is getting taken a lot today.
His name Ryan Lash and he's standing on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 58th Street holding a couple cardboard signs and a note for 100 Chinese yuan. He's 26 years old, born and bred in Baltimore, although when you ask him where he's from he tells you "Occupy Washington."
He's part of a group of 20 Occupy Wall Street activists who planted their sleeping bags outside Apple's (AAPL) big glass cube Wednesday night and established an uneasy truce with the 50 other line-sitters (by our 5 p.m. Thursday count) queued up to buy the new iPhone 5 that goes on sale Friday morning.
Lash has no intention of buying any kind of iPhone, and neither, he says, do any of his fellow protestors. He's here to capitalize on the growing media presence that surrounds every Apple launch event. Sometime between now and 8 a.m. Friday, he and his friends plan to sell their spots in line for $100 a pop.
Lash is a friendly, bear-like guy, quite sincere and loaded with misinformation. The cardboard square he's holding reads: "Every time you take a picture of this sign, Asian workers try to kill themselves."
Give him a chance and he'll rattle off a whole list of dubious bullet points:
Lash doesn't have an answer for why Occupy Wall Street has chosen to target this company, as opposed to all the other electronics manufacturers that depend of cheap Asian labor, other than the fact that Apple is releasing the iPhone 5 tomorrow. "This is a new thing for us," he admits.
And something of a target of opportunity. On the anniversary of the original Zuccotti Park sit-in, the NYPD forbade the protestors from sleeping on the sidewalks near Wall Street. But they seem have no problem with folks camping out next to the Apple Store. "This a sleepful demonstration," he says with a grin.
He concedes that the Apple protest has less visible public support than the one that focused national attention on the misdeeds of the financial industry. "Some people are uncomfortable," he says, "they don't like to have their precious apps pushed in their face."
Then he booms -- not in an unfriendly way -- at a woman who has just snapped his picture with her mobile phone:
"You dial your iPhone, it does not dial itself."
They arrived Wednesday and settled in for the night in matching red sleeping bags
FORTUNE -- Looks like the launch of the iPhone 5 is about to get political.
Veteran line-sitter Jessica Mellow, who's been camping out in front of the big glass cube of Apple's (AAPL) Fifth Avenue store since last Thursday, reports that at 10 p.m. Wednesday -- a day and a half before the Friday morning launch of the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 20, 2012 9:25 AM ET
What do these three have to do with one another? Frank Rich finds a thread
"Nothing has revealed how much the class warriors of the right and left of our time have in common," writes Frank Rich in the Oct. 23 issue of New York Magazine, "than the national outpouring after Steve Jobs's death."
Rich, who left his high-profile perch on the OpEd page of the New York Times earlier this year to be MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 6, 2011 3:00 PM ET
Apple, as hedge fund managers are well aware, is one stock that always bounces back
It's hard not to be cynical about Wall Street when you see a chart like the one at right, which traces Apple's (AAPL) share price over the past four weeks.
It not terribly surprising that the stock has shot up nearly 20% in the past two weeks to close at an all-time high Friday of $422. The iPhone 4S MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 15, 2011 7:35 AM ET
|Another strong quarter for Smith & Wesson|
|Homeless college students seek shelter during breaks|
|JPMorgan patents Bitcoin-like payment system|
|Don't fight it. Bitcoin has a bright future|
|GM to stop Holden production in Australia|