Plenty of potential iPhone customers - particularly ones who are familiar with Apple's less-than-ideal track record with 1st gen products - are on the fence as to whether they should wait for the 2nd version of the iPhone. In recent years, problems like the 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook's white spots (and the resulting repair program), battery recalls, and plenty of MacBook/Pro defects are all too familiar to their unfortunate victims. I personally have experienced almost every one of these, going through three RevA 12-inch PowerBook (867) before I got one with a hard drive that didn't immediately die (never-mind the fact that I could almost cook breakfast on it and save money on apartment utility bills), a 15-inch Al PowerBook with the infamous white spots issue, and even a MacBook battery recall. Looking back on all these issues and the fact that I'm planning on getting an iPhone next week (though I'm still on the fence as to whether I'm nuts enough to camp out; hopefully I won't have to), I really hope Apple has done their homework and ensured the iPhone has gone through the best mass production process it can. A large stake of their reputation is going to depend on it.
Why is there more pressure for a flawless delivery on the iPhone than previous Apple products? Put simply: when a few early adopter nerds (including myself) get pissed that their $2500 PowerBooks have white spot defects in the display, that's one thing. When the unprecedented masses find some serious manufacturing flaw on a device they had to sign their life away for two years just to get - that spells hell for a company. The iPhone is enjoying a level of interest, hype and syndicated popularity that virtually no other Apple product in history has had - if something goes wrong (the displays konks out after a week of touchy-feely use, the battery life is significantly under the mark, etc.), it will undoubtedly be sung from on high by everyone from the enthusiast blogs to the big hitters like the Today Show and CNN. Apple is leaping straight from 'high school drama club' status to Broadway on June 29th, so any mistake is going to get magnified in the giant spotlight that will be shining on them in the wake of the iPhone's launch.
For the sake of all the rabid iPhone hopefuls and those who are waiting to see if the 2nd gen is the way to go, I say: break a leg, Apple.