Known Johnson

July 13, 2008

My new baby

Filed under: Ipod/Iphone — Tom @ 9:50 am

. . . a 16gb white Iphone!

And that’s our new baby on the screen, obviously.

Yes, I am one of those freaks that went and waited in line for a phone. I drove by the Apple store at the Biltmore on Friday after the ultrasound, thinking maybe by then the line had slimmed down and I could be in and out relatively quickly, but found that it was wrapped around the building. I had to work, so I skipped that. I drove by once again on my way home from work, finding the line halved but still far too long for the limited time I had, especially after reading the stories about how people spent most of Friday stuck in the 1st circle of activation hell.

When I woke up Saturday morning, I had this itchy urge. Something was telling me to just go get in line right now. I looked at some forums and saw people reporting the lines were moving much more smoothly, but still slowly (due to Apple and AT&T’s insistence on accounts being activated in-store.) And, so, at 7:30, when Amanda amazingly slept in until, I went in to tell Alissa I was going to give it a shot. I decided if it was completely insane, like it was on Friday morning, I would give up and come back home. If it was like I saw it Friday afternoon, I’d give it a shot. If what I’m reading is true, these lines are not going to go away any time soon – the activation process is slow enough that if there’s more than a dozen people buying phones, there’s going to be a wait, and the demand is high enough that weekends are going to be extremely busy. Lines are going to be very normal at Apple stores for weeks to come – if you know the Apple store, they are always busy. Throw in a bunch of people buying something that takes 15-20 minutes in the best scenarios and you’ve got a huge mess (we were warned in line that some took two hours to activate – that’s the account, not the phone.)

And when I pulled up at 8:40, I got a bit excited – no line was visible from this side of the Biltmore, and that could only be a good thing. Let me explain – the Biltmore is an upscale, open-air mall. The Apple store is on the inside portion (a corner) of it, so any line that forms goes down about 15 feet of wall on the “inside” part of the outdoor area, turns, then down 100 feet or so before getting to the “outside” part. Yesterday, that line did that, then ran down another 200 feet or so – I’d guess there was 300+ people in line. Today was obviously much, much lighter. I parked, got out, and walked up to find the line about 15 feet from the end of that 100 foot wall, all leisurely milling about with lots of space between them. And within a short while, Apple employees came out and asked for anyone there for a Genius Bar or some kind of class appointment to step out of line. Instantly the line shortened by about 1/3. And, really, we moved pretty quick . . . for a while.

I rounded the corner at 10 am and figured it would be any time now – it was only 15 short feet to the door. But just like at Disneyland, getting to the entrance of the attraction is only the beginning. It was 11:41 before I laid a finger on my new Iphone. That’s right – it took 100 minutes to move that 15 feet, then through the store. The activation process was painless – name, address, social security, done. I had to bring the Iphone home to finish up in Itunes, which caused a little fear in my heart after yesterday’s debacle, but I had it up and running in minutes.

Was it worth the wait? Believe it or not, yes! This thing is incredible. I have never cared for cellphones. I don’t spend a ton of time talking on them, or even the landline phone, either. “Necessary evil” is how I characterize them, but this is so much more than a phone. It simply packs together a bunch of applications that I need on a daily basis – things that other cellphones admittedly had – in such a user-friendly way. I never once had an interest in using any internet-enabled cellphones, but it wasn’t because I didn’t think I could make use of it but because it was so clunky. Not here. Plus the GPS – after our trip last week, I have found great love for GPS and while I realize this is a hampered version of a full GPS unit, just being able to look up something and find it is a huge plus for me. Having the internet at my fingertips all day is extremely handy – you don’t know how many times I go to a music store and see something and wonder if it’s something important, rare, etc. Now I can look it up without either investing in it blindly or passing on it to go home and research it while possibly losing it all together. And then there’s the App Store – I can’t say for certain that I’ll buy stuff from there, but a few free Apps have already been loaded, ready to be played with (Jott (it’s a very cool speech-to-text application,) Google Mobile, and Paypal.) Only time will tell what else will come out, but it can only get better from here.

Oh, and anyone wanting scoff, well, I’ll be nice and just say “stuff it” – I’ve been anxiously waiting for a YEAR for this. I wanted the Iphone last year very badly but knew I’d be giving up some stuff I absolutely needed. A few hours in line after a year of waiting is nothing and, in fact, was kind of part of the fun. I met some interesting folk and got to be part of the big deal. Sometimes you just have to do these things – it’s more interesting to talk about than “yeah, I went to Apple/AT&T and bought the Iphone 3 months after it came out.”

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