Friday, 11 July 2008

I'm officially the proud and happy owner of a white 16GB iPhone 3G. I'm about to head out to the store to take care of all the other stuff I need to get done today, so I will have a chance to check out the GPS and 3G network stuff shortly.

I arrived at about 7am at the Apple Store at the Flat Iron Crossing mall in Broomfield, Colorado. About 150 people were already there by the time I arrived, and the numbers just kept on adding up as the morning wore on.

There were a lot of first-time-iPhone-purchasers as well as upgraders in line. I figured it was about a 50-50 mix. The Apple store staff said they had lots of iPhones in stock. At 8am, an army of crazed, screaming Apple Store employees came running from the parking lot where they'd staged themselves, past the crowded line and into the store, trying for high-fives along the way. It was the most excited group of retail workers I've ever seen, to be certain.

The iPhone-stock situation at the Apple stores, however, contrasted drastically with what we were hearing on Twitter about the people in line at the AT&T stores, where stock on hand seemed to be very limited and lines were also long. Word was each AT&T store had about 60 phones or so. Not so at Apple stores, where managers said they had enough to cover the crowds.

Almost as soon as 8am rolled around things went south. The first of the line moved into the store and shortly after is when things stopped. Rumors started to trickle out that the activation system was failing. The situation improved somewhat, until an hour later when the system again failed (likely as a result of the west cost stores opening). The store manager came out to address the crowd and explained the situation (quite effectively, I might add - Apple has a great crew at the store I visited), telling us what was happening with surprising transparency and apologizing for the delay. He thanked us for waiting and our "dedication," and came back out to give updates. At about 10am local time, the situation improved substantially and people started getting their phones in a more-timely manner.

As it turned out, we were not leaving the store with fully activated iPhones as expected. In fact, I got mine at 10:55 a.m., but when I walked out of the store it was still sealed in the plastic-wrapped box. Apparently Apple decided to ditch the in-store iTunes activation dance and instead started sending people home to activate their new devices on iTunes themselves. Good call. In the store they took my information and changed my service over with AT&T, which went smoothly (go figure - AT&T's money grab was slick as snot, heh). My old iPhone went out-of-service with AT&T about 20 minutes later and I so was without a phone until I could get back home to activate the new one.

There were around 200 people in line when I left. Good thing the process was moving faster.

At home, I was able to activate my new phone in less than 30 minutes. It took a while for iTunes to make its initial connection, but once that happened it was a quick and painless process. No bricked phone or anything, and after restoring my backup from the old iPhone I was all set.

Bonus info: I got an email from Telenav this morning explaining they're working now on an iPhone version of their GPS mapping software - Quite excellent! That mean we'll soon have high-quality, turn-by-turn GPS navigation on the iPhone before too long! No delivery dates or other promises (of course), but the app is in the development process. Details are at Gizmodo, and the Telenav blog is a good place to keep your eyes open for future information.

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Apple | Geek Out | Tech
Friday, 11 July 2008 13:21:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Friday, 11 July 2008 13:56:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I thought the new 3G iPhone had GPS on it? OR is it that your just wanting the Telenav more?
Glad you didn't get a brick though!!
Friday, 11 July 2008 14:17:16 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
It has a gps receiver but no software that does turn by turn directions live with the gps. Google maps tracks your location on the map but doesn't integrate the driving direction with your location.

Oh - and 3G is wicked fast!
Friday, 11 July 2008 16:28:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Does TeleNav have a special deal with apple to allow turn by turn directions? I could have sworn I read that this was forbidden by apple.
Friday, 11 July 2008 19:28:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I'll see if I can get some more info from TeleNav. Good question, Trevs.
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