So today we took the plunge along with thousands of other people and bought the iPhone 3G. As we mentioned earlier today, we did this only because we were able to sell our original iPhones that we bought in January for $399, on eBay for $425. We sold them three days before the WWDC Keynote, so we’ve been without our phones for about a month. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t excited about the launch today, because we were.
The Waiting Game…
Last year when the iPhone originally launched, we didn’t jump on the bandwagon because we were still locked into a contract and we really didn’t want fork out the required $599. With this launch we decided we wanted the full experience, so we decided to get there a few hours before launch.
This morning the alarm went off at 3:30 AM and we pulled into the AT&T store at 4:00 AM, so four hours before launch. We were about 8th in line, and we have to believe that the line wasn’t quite as long as some of the other stores out there because of the weather we were having. We had strong thunderstorms all night- lots of lightning, thunder, and heavy rain and winds, so it was quite the waiting experience.
We’ve sat in lines before and this one was definitely friendly despite the poor weather. After talking to the other people in line (who were soaked!), we found that about 2 of the 7 people in front of us weren’t even there to get an iPhone. They were just there with friends to hang-out and help them pass the time. Surprisingly there wasn’t a mob-like mentality like what we’ve experienced at Best Buy on a few occasions.
AT&T employees showed up about an hour before opening, and we have to give them credit for making sure everybody was prepared. They came out to the line asking if anybody had questions, or if there were new AT&T subscribers signing up for the first time. They also handed out bottles of water to everyone which was a nice touch.
By the time 8:00 rolled around, everybody was waiting for the store to open, but no such luck! We were trying to figure out why things were running behind, and once we got inside, we found out.
Inside the Store
At about 8:05, the manager came to un-lock the doors and they finally opened. AT&T had about 8 stations available where customers could go to set-up phones, so they only allowed 8 people in at a time. Thankfully we were in the first group of people. Once we got to our station we realized that what had been holding up the store from opening on-time was iTunes. No one in the store could get iTunes to work which meant phones couldn’t be activated!
As we were waiting for the associate that was working with us to get things going, we took a minute to glance around the room to see what everybody was buying. White seemed way more popular than we ever expected. They didn’t have a white iPhone on display but we saw one somebody purchased and we didn’t think it looked nearly as classy as the black. We ended up going with the 16GB black version. Out of the 7 other people checking-out in the store when we were there, at least 4 had white ones. An amusing sidenote: The AT&T employee was going to swap out the new sim cards and put in our old ones and he searched the box but couldn’t find the “Sim Ejector” tool. Apparently he didn’t view some of the “un-boxing” videos floating around the Internet. ;) Good thing we did, because we told him where to find it.
Remember all that talk about leaving the store with the phone activated? Well that went out the window when iTunes didn’t work. They gave us the instructions to go home and “un-brick” the phones. That was literally the wording they used and one of the customers looked so confused as to what “un-brick” meant.
We walked out of the store at about 8:35 and looked to see a line about 50 deep. After being in the store for as long as we were, we felt bad for what the people at the end of the line were going to have to endure. But then again, most didn’t get in line until right before the store opened.
Once we got home, iTunes still wouldn’t work. You would have thought that Apple would be prepared for this, but they weren’t. Ryan eventually got his to activate about an hour after we got home, and mine finally activated after about two hours.
In case you were wondering
We’re not going to go into a full review yet because we’d like to use the phone for about a week so that we can give you an accurate review. A few things you may be wondering though:
- Ringer is definitely louder
- Searching for Apps is nice because you can install them right there without needing iTunes
- Some people were wondering if the GPS would even be able to work in a car. We managed to get it to work in our house, so there should be no issues in your car. It seems to work pretty good too…
- Roundedness on the back seems to make it fit to the hand better. We were originally disappointed it didn’t have the aluminum backing but we like it and it seems less prone to slipping out
One of the other things I’m sure you’re wondering about is how fast the Internet actually is on this thing. We happen to be lucky enough where we fall into an area that has 3G speeds on AT&T’s network, but for us we weren’t able to get the “twice as fast” claim that Apple is making. Nope, not even close… in a good way that is. I used testmy.net to test my connection, and the results were rather impressive. With 3G disabled I got 147Kbps for the download speed, and with 3G enabled I got 820Kbps. That works out to being 5.5x faster. And that was when I only had two bars for a signal! We’re definitely satisfied with the speed increase.