iPhone 4 Madness 2010

Loyal readers know two years ago, I attempted to get an iPhone 3G after drooling over Daniel’s purchase on the day it came out. (My story was faithfully captured here) It took 5 attempts and over 7 hours in line on two different days, but I managed to score one. For the past two years I have been very happy with my phone, with the exception of minor issues here and there. When they announced the new iPhone 4 this year, I knew it was time to upgrade.

I was somewhat gun-shy about re-upping for two more years, but contrary to most people, I have not really had many issues with AT&T. I do not make a lot of phone calls on my iPhone and basically use it as an iPod, SMS sender, and Internet access device. I have had my share of dropped calls, but that is why they invented the Call Back button. I just hate to be tied down and like the idea of being able to do what I want.

Seeing the sneaked shots of the left behind prototype just made me want the new version more. It was gorgeous and faster so who could resist. Not wanting to repeat the mess of two years ago, I tried and was able to pre-order an iPhone the first day they were available to be pre-ordered – June 15. It was a mess and took several times, but I did finally get it pre-ordered by 4:30pm. I selected in-store pickup thinking I wanted to test the phone out first before I took it home should there be any issues. I also suspected that the pre-orders would have less of a wait and it would be relatively painless.

So naively, I waited until release day – the 24th. Daniel had managed to get a pre-order too and so we set out to the Brea Mall to get our phones. We were a bit behind schedule, and arrived at the store just after 7am. I was blown away by just how many people were waiting already (although, in hindsight, I really shouldn’t have been). Daniel told me to head to the back of the line, and I stubbornly thought that the huge line must be for the standby, and that the pre-order line was smallish and in the AC of the mall. Nope, Daniel was right as usual and the pre-order line was twice as long as the standby line. At first it moved quickly as they moved people into the mall to station outside the door.

After 1.5 hours, I started to get nervous about work and called in explaining that the line was not moving and that I was going to be late. Apple had been issuing Danishes and Umbrellas and Coffee to the queue to help nourish us and give us shade.

Three hours later, we had made it 3/4 the way down the length of the Macy*s Home Store and Daniel decided that he needed to go home and get ready for his shift. I was left alone for about 45 minutes and by the time he returned I had made it inside the mall. Daniel brought my work clothes and I changed into them in anticipation that it surely wasn’t going to be longer than another hour. WRONG!

Daniel decided to leave a short time later and I had to fend for myself. Thankfully he was able to start the chain of texts which eventually got me a ride from the Mall when I was finished. I got a text from Paul indicating I should try and get Daniel’s phone since he had reserved it and since I had his vital info, I should be able to do it. The Apple Queue Hosts did not think I would be able to, but told me that when I got inside the store to ask a Genius.

At the 7 hour mark, my neighbor in line sold her spot to someone else, and that replacement person offered me some cold McNuggets to help nourish me. I took them and another person offered me a Creme Soda. It was just what I needed to get over the hump to get into the store.

At the 8 hour mark, I finally made it into the store. I was a bit delirious after all that time in the sun (5 hours outside the mall, 3 hours inside the mall), but made quick work of setting up my new iPhone. It was pretty amazing and I was very happy! To boot, we were able to get Daniel’s phone purchased and set up thanks to some last minute phone calls to verify account info. My phone was activated and my total time at the store was 15 minutes. My ride was waiting for me and I headed to work with both old and new iPhones, awaiting activation. It took an hour for the new iPhone to start working (after a reboot, I think if I had done it sooner, I would have been in business earlier), and I started playing with it.

Overall, I was amazed at the screen quality and how quick the overall phone experience was compared to my 3G. Simply amazing. I was glad I got a bumper accessory in the store, because in my exuberance in staring at the screen, I dropped the phone from 4 feet onto the street. Thankfully, there was no damage!!!

Once I got home I headed to bed, but set up the new iPhone to re-synch all of my old data and apps. When I woke up in the morning it was all ready to go. I was amazed at the new camera, and multitasking, and have just begun to play with all the new features. I did manage to try FaceTime with Daniel and it was very cool and lots of fun. I hope there is Skype integration soon!

I have had no issues with a yellow screen or antenna issues, and I consider myself to be very fortunate. I did discover tonight that my car charger does not work through the bumper due to a small size difference in the plug width. (Not the actual interface, but the decorative plastic part). I am going to look at several different options before I figure out the best way to proceed. I might just lift up the bumper to provide easier access.

I can finally get some sleep, and hopefully resell my 3G now that it has been restored to factory freshness and upgraded to iOS 4.

That’s it for my upgrade story. My key learning is that next time, I am going to have it shipped to me!!