Would you wait in line for 6 hours for an iPhone?

12 Jul, 2008  |  Written by  |  under iPhone

Nah, nobody would wait 6 hours in line for an iPhone.  Least of all me.  I’m no Apple FanBoy(tm), have a nice Windows Mobile phone, and am on crutches.  So it makes no sense at all that I’d wait 6 hours in line for an iPhone.

But I did.

I showed up around 8am at the local Apple store, and saw the line stretching around the block.  My first impulse was to turn around and go home, but I figured I’d hang out for a while and see how the line was moving, at least.  So I lined up with the other mostly not- or self-employed folks to see how our luck fared.

The Apple guys said they would take groups of 10 in, and each group would take about 20 minutes.  True to form, every 20 minutes or so, we’d move forward 10 people or so.  The sense of progress was nice for perhaps an hour and a half.  Then everything stopped.  We had another couple of hours to go that we could see, and for a solid hour, nothing moved.  Apparently, iTunes crashed, so they couldn’t activate the phones.

Ugh.

Then they worked around that, and the AT&T servers died for a while, so they couldn’t do anything at all.  Double ugh.

At about the point where I’d given up and was ready to leave, the line started moving again, and they were clearly selling phones once more.  This was perhaps 3 hours into the ordeal.  All this time, of course, I’m surrounded by the Apple Faithful, extolling the virtues of the iPhone, and Apple in general.  They did really make it easy to stick around, seeing the crazy energy and enthusiasm.

But by this point, we were clearly an hour from being in the store, and I’d already planned to waste the rest of the day playing with the phone, so it didn’t make any difference really whether I waited or played.  So I stuck around.

Once we were just a few people back from the store, we found out that once in the store, it was another hour to get the phone.  I assumed that only a bit of this was in a new, air-conditioned, line, but that was wrong.  It was another hour inside the store just to get started buying the phone.

Once I was in the buying process, we had various gift card-related problems that were quickly resolved, then I asked the nice lady for my new 16 gig iPhone.  She went and got it, then plopped it in the special iPhone bag, along with the case I’d picked out.  Sweet.

We completed the activation process, got my number ported over, then she rang up the total.  It was $100 too low.  So I mentioned to her that I wasn’t getting the smaller 8 gig model, but the big one.  She looked in the bag, and was crestfallen as she, and I, realized that everything was lost.  She’d completely activated the 8 gig iPhone.  The number had moved over to it, and getting a 16 gig was out of the question for about 2 years, unless I wanted to pay the unsubsidized $200-more price.

ARGH.  6 hours in line so I could get the wrong phone.  Thanks?

In the end, I opted for the 8 gig.  It’s $100 less (which I’m now stuck with in Apple Gift Card form, which wasn’t what I really wanted), and may present some storage challenges if I really load it down with applications.

But still, a day later, I have to wonder:  Was it worth 6 hours and a sunburn (oops!) to get this phone?  Pretty much.  The interface is stellar, it’s fast, it has great WiFi support, the 3G is faster than EVDO, the GPS is great, and the App Store presents a new world of mobile possibilities.

So, would I wait in line for 6 hours for an iPhone?  Not knowingly.  But having done it, I don’t regret it.  Much.

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