The iPhone Experience

NOTE: If you’re in the market for an iPhone, check here to see availability in your local Apple store, or call your AT&T store. There are auctions on eBay already with phones going for $1000 or more. But, folks, until they actually run out of them in the stores, don’t go to eBay – unless you really want to pay the extra $500 or more for one.
So, yeah, after switching back and forth on whether or not I was going to get one, I went to Willow Bend and got in line for an iPhone.
For those of you who haven’t heard about the iPhone, check it out at
“iPhone fever” has gripped the nation over the last several months, reaching fever pitch this week as the Apple marketing machine continued the buildup until June 29, which AT&T referred to as “iDay.”
The biggest question that was left unanswered until yesterday was: How many of the things would Apple have? The phones did not arrive in the country until Sunday, under armed escort. They would not show up at stores until Friday afternoon – just a few hours before they would go on sale at 6pm on June 29. Both Apple and AT&T stores could not say how many phones they would have.
In fact, one apple store employee told me that they had to turn in their cell phones as long as they were at work. They were not allowed into the back of the store to retrieve merchandise and had to radio the storeroom to bring computers out to them.
A friend of mine and I watched macrumors constantly yesterday for updates on line counts in the Dallas area. He had seen 8 people lined up at the AT&T store in Allen on the way to work. By noon, reports were coming in of at least 150-200 people in line at two of the Apple stores in the area. But, after the announcement on Thursday that the Apple store would allow people to buy two, we figured we would be safe.
So, we left work as early as we could, and ended up in line at Willow Bend at around 5:45pm – just 15 minutes before the iPhone would go on sale… along with 500 or more other people.
I had a plan B already in mind. There are at least five AT&T stores between Willow Bend and my house, and worse case, I would probably hit them all in the quest for the phone. I knew that I wanted one at this point, so now the challenge was whether or not I could buy one on “iDay.”
The line started moving pretty well. Apple was allowing 50 people at a time into the store, and they would then move in groups of 5-10 as people filtered out of the store. Fifteen minutes after the store opened, two guys walked out and walked over to the back of the line offering to sell their phones to the highest bidder. Most people laughed at them, so they took their phones out to the front of the mall to try again.
We were probably 2/3 of the way through the gauntlet within 45 minutes.  But, then, an Apple store employee came running out and approached the line. “There’s a chance you may not get a phone,” he said. We opted to take our chances. It made the next 20 minutes or so more interesting as we neared the Apple entrance, hoping that they wouldn’t come back out and say they were completely sold out…
Success! Thirty minutes later, I was able to walk out of the store with my brand new iPhone! My friend was also able to get the pair he needed to buy (one for the missus, and one for him).
It turns out going to the apple store was the right call. As we left, we walked out into a downpour. The drive home took me by one of the AT&T stores, where several soaked iPhone buyers were patiently waiting outside for their chance to get a phone.
I’ll post more about the phone later. So far, it does everything as advertised. : )
There are a few quirks though, but there’s nothing that wasn’t really expected and, more importantly, nothing that couldn’t be added later though a software update.