Why and How I Got an iPhone?

When Jobs announced the iPhone at MacWorld, my immediate thought was “Wow! That’s the handheld device I’ve been waiting for!” Back in the day, I thought the Newton was cool; but never had one. When the Palm Pilot came out, I got one; but never understood why a large portion of the screen was dedicated to text input. Plus I never did get comfortable with graffiti. I’ve had a couple of “internet-capable” cell phones; but they only frustrated the crap out of me the few times I tried them. Plus the data plans seemed way too expensive given the experience delivered. I’ve never had an iPod or MP3 player; who wants to carry that, a cell phone and a PDA?

The iPhone, at first look, appeared to hit all the marks! I knew right away that I had to have one and couldn’t wait to follow the news of the iPhone release. But as iDay approached and I read more of the skeptics concerns regarding things like the EDGE network performance, battery life, the virtual keyboard, 3rd party apps, and so on; I began to get cold feet… Then in the week leading up to the release, Apple and AT&T began silencing the critics. Reports started coming in that EDGE performance had increased. Apple announced its battery life expectations. Reviewers came out with rave reviews. And service plans were announced; since I was already an AT&T customer, it would only cost me an additional $20/month! OK, I still wasn’t entirely convinced. Just too much hype. Before making a decision, I had to see this thing on action.

Unfortunately, on iDay, I had an appointment until 6pm, so waiting on line was out of the question. I settled on having to wait until the second batch came out, probably two weeks or so later. After my appointment I decided to have dinner at a Corner Bakery near our local AT&T store. I caught a glimpse of the line before dinner and it had dwindled down to about 20 from the 60 or so that I had seen before leaving for my appointment. “Well,” I thought, “after dinner I’ll stop by. There probably won’t be any phones left, but at least I might get a demo or be able to try it out.” Sure enough, when I stopped, there were none left, but there was a short line to try one out. Well, that’s all it took! After just a few seconds I was hooked! Now, how to get one? I spoke briefly to a salesman and he mentioned some “direct fulfillment” option. That would take 3-5 days, “if supplies are available”. I decided to take my chances and see if I could come up with a quicker solution.

As fate would have it, on Saturday I had an all day event that I had committed to. I had to leave early in the morning and would not return until late at night. Oh well, I guessed that I would have to wait until the next week to figure out a solution. Friday night I still had to prepare for my Saturday event, which I did. But when I was done I decided to check news and blog postings to see what everyone else thought of the iPhone and how initial use was going. I found a blog entry stating that someone had walked into my near by Apple Store at about 8:30, no line, and had walked out 15 minutes later with a shiny new iPhone in hand! Why didn’t I think of that! Well, simple, I had heard on the local news that the line at that store had started several days earlier and was growing. I figured there would be no way I wanted to go anywhere near there during the rollout! Hmmm. I saw the blog posting at about 11pm; the store would be open until midnight. Should I have gone? Probably, but I was tired and needed to get up early. I knew that if I did go, I wouldn’t get any sleep that night.

During Saturday’s event I was able to put the thought of a new iPhone out of mind. But on the drive home I starting planning my next step. Since Friday night’s postings indicated that Apple Stores seemed to have an adequate supply of phones, I figured I’d check the Apple online inventory when I got home with the hope that a store within an hour of home would have some in stock. Sure enough, while the local store was out, several not far from home were “green”! I select a store in a mall about 45 minutes from home.

In the morning I invited my wife to “brunch” at the mall. She thought that was odd, since it was far and we had never had brunch in that area before. I confessed. There was an Apple Store there. “OK, let’s go!” We headed out and I suggested we go to the store first, realizing that we would arrive just at their opening time of 11am. After spending a few minutes looking for parking, we walked into the store at about 11:05. The store was “busy” but not crowded. There was a bit of a buzz around the demo iPhones which is where I immediately headed to show my wife what all the fuss was about. But she stopped me, pointed to a salesman and said “Ask him if they have any”.

I did and the conversation went something like this:

Me: “Do you have any iPhones?”  

Salesman: “No, sorry, we are all sold out.”

Me: “What? The website lied, it said you would have some in stock.”

Salesman: “Yeah, they have been having problems with that, I wish there was something I could do.”

Me: “That sucks…”

Salesman: “Wait, let me go talk to my manager and see if there is something we can do.” 

Yeah right!  What can they do? I walked over to the iPhone display to demo an unused phone to my wife, fully expecting the salesman to come back 5 minutes later with some line about “direct fulfillment” or online ordering or something. Well, before I could finishing loading a webpage, there was the salesman and his manager standing next to me with TWO iPhones!

Manager: “Did you want the 8 gig?”  

Me: “Yup!”

Manager: “OK, here you go.”

Guy next to Me: “I’ll take the other one.”

Manager: “OK”

Guy next to Guy next to Me: “Got any more?”

Manager: “No.”

That was it! The salesman “rang me up” on his handheld register and I was out of the store 5 minutes later with my new iPhone! 

On the way to the car my wife mentioned, “That thing is pretty cool, I’ll have to think about getting one”. At which point I quickly volunteered, “Let’s wait until version 2 comes out…. Then you can have mine!” 

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