Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4: I'm in Love...Again

The day dawned cool and a bit foggy. I'd set the alarm for 5 a.m. My goal was to leave the house by 6 a.m. to get in line for new Apple iPhone 4 which went on sale today.

I got to the Apple Store in Walnut Creek at about 6:15 a.m. The line went almost around the entire block.

I debated since I had not pre-ordered and had no idea what kind of inventory the store would have. I quickly checked at the AT&T store nearby where there was no line...NO LINE? Then I got closer and the sad truth was revealed on a sign on the door: despite what they had told me several times in the past week, there were no iPhones for sale today for those who had not pre-ordered. AT&T will not have any to sell until June Tuesday.

I debated a few minutes more and decided to give the Apple line a shot.

I was in line before 6:30 a.m.

Within a few minutes, after a run by of Apple Store employees with lots of high fives and thank yous to us, the big long line was split between the pre-orders and the rest of us.

At 7 a.m., the lines started moving. Apple employees worked the line and always gave words of encouragement, but never gave information about wait times and inventory.

Word spread that for every 4 pre-orders, one of the rest of us would get in the store.

We were moving very very slowly. And the batteries on our older iPhones and iPads were starting to run low.

After awhile, I started calling those in the pre-order line, "The Chosen Ones." And, that they were, as evidenced by a cheerful Man of the Cloth in their line...he was smiling even more when he paraded past us with his new iPhone 4 in hand.

After a few hours, Apple people came through the line with bottles of water.

Also, being good citizens to their fellow retail neighbors, the store employees picked up the garbage that those who spent the night out on the street in line left behind.

The Apple folk also made sure that we did not block entrances to any of the businesses where we were in line.

Barnes & Noble set up a coffee cart by their front door, before they opened for business at 9 a.m. A bit later in the day, they wheeled a cart of soft drinks through our line, for sale, but welcomed by many.

We made runs to Starbucks, to move our cars from limited time parking spots, to make restroom runs, to buy food.

Then, about noon, an SUV pulled up and unloaded cartons of KFC to-go boxes. We thought this was food for the Apple Store employees, but no, it was box lunches for US...Fried Boneless Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Mac & Cheese, and a Biscuit. Not my usual fare, but, let me tell you, it was delicious...and a bit of carbo loading was just what we all needed.

This fortified us for a few more hours.

Security people walked the line, kept doorways clear, and strategized about keeping things worked; there were no problems that I saw.

Finally, at 2 p.m., I was allowed into the store and I made my purchase...and not a minute too late!!

This is what the store activity looked like.

As I was leaving the store at about 2:15 p.m., those still in line were told that there were just 5 16 GB iPhone 4's left.

Was it worth nearly 8 hours in line? Of course!!!

It was an adventure. It was fun! And I enjoyed the company of my "Apple Family for a Day."

Thanks guys for the company.

Thanks Apple for the food and encouragement and for creating amazing products that keep me falling in love over and over again.

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