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Buying a new iPhone 3G S in twenty minutes

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
The original iPhone defined a new height of spectacle in consumer electronics launches. With the release of the iPhone 3G S, Apple has managed to keep the media circus surrounding its new smartphones engaged for the third year in a row, and has greatly improved its in-store processing.

iPhone Frenzy: Part III
Who would have thought that, three years in, another iPhone model launch would draw lines and media?

I leisurely motored over to the downtown San Francisco store expecting no lines and no waiting, but after cycling around for parking and budgeting just twenty five cents for a parking meter, I saw that even the nearby AT&T store had a short line waiting for the iPhone.

AT&T's line even sported a barricade and signage indicating that the only people who need bother wait in line are those who set up an iPhone order in advance.



A block away at the Apple store, camera crews with a satellite uplink were still covering the "launch event" hours after the store opened. There were two lines: the priority line for pre-screened users and a walkup line for everyone else.




Workers were milling around asking people if they were on the list, and offering coffee, hot cocoa, bottles of water, and apparently Noah's Bagels from a catering cart.



Nearer the door, three heavyweight security guards menacingly blocked the path of anyone trying to jump the line. I asked one of them if it was a rough crowd they were dealing with. He laughed and said no, then got really serious about how nobody was getting in without authorization from the girl holding the guest list.



Twenty minute turnaround
I was a bit worried about getting in and out with just a quarter on my meter. Fortunately, that quarter had bought me an hour of motorcycle parking rather than 5 minutes of car parking. But before I could ask for a bagel, a store employee came out, introduced himself by name, and whisked me into the store to set me up.

The phone purchase went smoothly, and after being set up with a plan, I was handed off to another employee who similarly introduced himself as if he were arranging my VIP bottle service in a club. Instead, he simply plugged the new phone into an iMac and did the initial activation step.

In twenty minutes, I was back at my bike with another forty minutes of a paid parking space. My old phone was already taken out of service but the new phone was still not showing any signs of life in detecting AT&T.



By the time I got home 20 minutes later, however, the new phone was already receiving text messages and ready to go. After a quick restore of my previous apps and configuration, it was ready to use. About forty minutes after placing my first phone call, the new phone popped up a messaging indicating that the phone was activated.

The iPhone activation situation
In its iPhone partnership with AT&T, Apple has learned a few things over the last couple years. The company first started out with a device that broke convention in the mobile industry: it sold without a direct subsidy, allowing users to take their new phone home and set it up themselves.

In order to bring the marketed price of the iPhone 3G in line with other models sold for $200 or less, and sometimes for "free" with a contract, Apple conceded to standard in-store activations that tied the phone to the user's existing or new contract, allowing buyers a $200-$400 discount.

The problem with in-store activations is that lots of accounts had complications: business plans, family plans, credit and qualification problems and so on. The long lines of users were slowed dramatically by users who needed extra help.

This year, Apple and AT&T teamed up to take pre-orders, screening users for any potential problems well in advance. The result on launch day was two lines: a priority line for pre-screened users, the other for people who just walked up to buy a phone.

As a result, lines moved faster and users without problems were handled on an express track. There have also been improvements made to the sometimes flakey Easy Pay systems that Apple retail store employees reply on to ring up sales, and back end fixes to help speed processing with fewer problems.

Users trying to get set up at AT&T stores or phones they received in the mail have reported more glitches, such as a longer wait for service activation.
post #2 of 79
costco figured this out when the added people to put away your stuff at the checkout

it's better to pay an extra person and serve more people faster to ring up more revenue than to keep a bare minimum of people to save costs and have people leave and not buy anything at all
post #3 of 79
I must have missed the theads on how "many iPhone ads in the papers", "getting your iPhone to talk to you", "which celebrities own the iPhone", "you iPhone is your new best friend", etc.

Apple news , dudes, "real" Apple news.
post #4 of 79
Some of us who preordered a week ago at an AT&T store are still waiting for our phones to show up at the store. Pre-ordering didn't give any priority at all.
post #5 of 79
Me thinking AI've flown a bit off the handle in displaying Pre ads.

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

Reply
post #6 of 79
Good grief. It's so stupid how people are lining up for these phones. One day! Just wait ONE FREAKING DAY and there won't be lines.

the GOTTA HAVE IT NOW crowd is hilarious.

(and I'm talking mainly about the people camping out for it)
post #7 of 79
Walked in to AT&T at 7:30 picked up my pre-ordered 3G s, activated it, ported the number from my 3G, ported the new number from the 3Gs to the 3G, signed a couple things and walked out at 7:50.
post #8 of 79
AT&T makes you setup your voicemail password again manually.
The whole setup process happens so automatically it catches you off-guard when you eventually try to access voicemail several hours later and have to try and remember your voicemail password.
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I must have missed the theads on how "many iPhone ads in the papers", "getting your iPhone to talk to you", "which celebrities own the iPhone", "you iPhone is your new best friend", etc.

Apple news , dudes, "real" Apple news.

I'm sure if those threads existed, you'd visit each one of them to comment.....as you have done to all of the existing ones.
post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Me thinking AI've flown a bit off the handle in displaying Pre ads.

Blood money!
post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonsox View Post

Some of us who preordered a week ago at an AT&T store are still waiting for our phones to show up at the store. Pre-ordering didn't give any priority at all.

I got mine delivered to my house. That's plenty of priority for me. Didn't have to get in my car at all.

Is getting it five hours earlier at the store that big a deal to that many people still?
post #12 of 79
I went during lunch to Memorial City Mall in Houston, left about a little over an hour later. Good to go. Although this year I didn't see a camera crew and get on TV in HD.....
post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Good grief. It's so stupid how people are lining up for these phones. One day! Just wait ONE FREAKING DAY and there won't be lines.

the GOTTA HAVE IT NOW crowd is hilarious.

Why would you care what others are doing? I just don't get that. People wait in lines for concert tickets to their favorite band or show all the time. For some it's part of the fun and of course gets you the phone right away. In this case it's more important than a concert ticket or show cause it's something you'll spend tons of time on daily for work and personal use. I just don't understand all the worry about what others do and why some have to try to make themselves feel better by putting down others for doing something they enjoy when it sure as hell doesn't affect them.

On a lighter note... I did go at 6:30AM this morning to an Apple Store in Minnetonka, MN and was surprised at how short the wait was. Of course with Best Buy and Walmart now selling the phone along with the home delivery option it's not all that much of a surprise. Doors opened at 7AM and me, my girlfriend and a buddy were all out of there by 7:20AM and didn't have any issues with activations.

All in all it was a great experience. The employees were helpful, fast and most of all knowledgeable.

As for my favorite new features... I'd have to say landscape keyboard across all apps (specifically mail and texting), the new video recording that works perfectly with iMovie btw and the new way Google maps shows you the direction you're actually going (can't wait for TomTom).
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Good grief. It's so stupid how people are lining up for these phones. One day! Just wait ONE FREAKING DAY and there won't be lines.

the GOTTA HAVE IT NOW crowd is hilarious.

I think a more appropriate word is pathetic.

Wait til they start whining about each and every flaw- "the plastic cracks!", "the screen is too slippery!", "it's too hot!", "video drains my battery!", "my bill is too high!", etc.

I'm sure we'll have a thread for each and every whine too.
post #15 of 79
I waited over an hour and a half outside my local Apple store and couldn't pick up my two reserved phones. At the rate they were moving, it would have taken 3-4 hours. It was activation issues I think that slowed them down. Glad you had a different experience. I'll try again later. For me it was a disappointment compared to 2007 launch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The original iPhone defined a new height of spectacle in consumer electronics launches. With the release of the iPhone 3G S, Apple has managed to keep the media circus surrounding its new smartphones engaged for the third year in a row, and has greatly improved its in-store processing.

iPhone Frenzy: Part III
Who would have thought that, three years in, another iPhone model launch would draw lines and media?

I leisurely motored over to the downtown San Francisco store expecting no lines and no waiting, but after cycling around for parking and budgeting just twenty five cents for a parking meter, I saw that even the nearby AT&T store had a short line waiting for the iPhone.........

post #16 of 79
I just bought my 16GB iPhone 3GS from the Apple store for $400!!
I have a few words for AT&T...

SCREW YA! CAN'T WAIT TO DITCH YA!
bb
Reply
bb
Reply
post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I just bought my 16GB iPhone 3GS from the Apple store for $400!!
I have a few words for AT&T...

SCREW YA! CAN'T WAIT TO DITCH YA!

Well- why didn't ya? $400 for a renewal phone? AT&T is brilliant!
post #18 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I just bought my 16GB iPhone 3GS from the Apple store for $400!!
I have a few words for AT&T...

SCREW YA! CAN'T WAIT TO DITCH YA!

I don't understand why you would have paid that kind of money if you hate them so much
post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkoz View Post

I don't understand why you would have paid that kind of money if you hate them so much

+1 - makes no sense - no one is forcing anyone to upgrade or pay the early adopter fee. He chose to pay that fee - deal with it.
post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkoz View Post

I don't understand why you would have paid that kind of money if you hate them so much

Haven't you ever heard of the "I wish I could quit you" syndrome?
post #21 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Me thinking AI've flown a bit off the handle in displaying Pre ads.

That isnt AIs doing. Its Google Ad[MakesNo]Sense.
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post #22 of 79
Quote:
I think a more appropriate word is pathetic.

Wait til they start whining about each and every flaw- "the plastic cracks!", "the screen is too slippery!", "it's too hot!", "video drains my battery!", "my bill is too high!", etc.

I'm sure we'll have a thread for each and every whine too.

You do realize that those aren't necessarily the same people saying those things don't you?

There are billions of people in the world. There are millions of iphone users. Some of them like the experience of waiting in line for something they really want. Some people like to complain about every flaw they find in anything, including things that are not flaws but a difference of opinion such as your opinion that it is pathetic to wait in line. I guess if you like to be a douche and go around trying to crash other people's parties because you don't like the way they do it, then that is your option as well. I guess that makes me one of those guys who is getting so fed up with comment trolling that he now feels he has to lower himself to these 'pathetic' idiots and make pointless comments like this one.
post #23 of 79
I was in an ATT store at 10am CST. I bought my 3G S as an upgrade to my 3G that I bought on launch day last year at an Apple store. I was in and out with an activated phone in 10 minutes. Absolutely perfect execution. I was reluctant because I like to use the Apple store for my Apple purchases, but it's a two hour drive for me and last year it was a hassle activating.

Kudos to both Apple and ATT. Love the new iPhone.
post #24 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Me thinking AI've flown a bit off the handle in displaying Pre ads.

Give them a break - the Pre needs the advertising...
post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

You do realize that those aren't necessarily the same people saying those things don't you?

Not necessarily, but on this forum there are a couple I could point that often speak in such terms.

The best is the complaint by one prominent poster stating that it’s too slow and laggy yet insisting that the device is more than powerful enough to run background apps just fine, because other phones have done it for years, even though those phones weren’t running OS X.

Sometimes, it gets to be a bit much.
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post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryanhauer View Post

Why would you care what others are doing? I just don't get that. People wait in lines for concert tickets to their favorite band or show all the time. For some it's part of the fun and of course gets you the phone right away. In this case it's more important than a concert ticket or show cause it's something you'll spend tons of time on daily for work and personal use. I just don't understand all the worry about what others do and why some have to try to make themselves feel better by putting down others for doing something they enjoy when it sure as hell doesn't affect them.

On a lighter note... I did go at 6:30AM this morning to an Apple Store in Minnetonka, MN and was surprised at how short the wait was. Of course with Best Buy and Walmart now selling the phone along with the home delivery option it's not all that much of a surprise. Doors opened at 7AM and me, my girlfriend and a buddy were all out of there by 7:20AM and didn't have any issues with activations.

All in all it was a great experience. The employees were helpful, fast and most of all knowledgeable.

As for my favorite new features... I'd have to say landscape keyboard across all apps (specifically mail and texting), the new video recording that works perfectly with iMovie btw and the new way Google maps shows you the direction you're actually going (can't wait for TomTom).

ROFL! DUDE! I couldn't care less if I tried! I think its one of the funniest things ever to see a group of morons camping in the rain for this thing.

The iPhone most definitely is NOT like a concert ticket. You see, in a concert, there is a limited number of seats. A concert can be sold out. You think Apple's gonna stop making the 3gs? Is it a collector's item of some kind? Bad comparison here. I remember when I wanted to see Dave Mathews band back when I was in the 11th grade, they sold out within half an hour!

Look, I'm all for being a wild geek about something, and needing to have it right away, but this isn't practical at all. What's worse is eventually a couple of morons will get into an argument here over the iphone being "the best" and one of those morons will point to the lines formed for it and make a comment how lines didn't form for any other phone. There didn't need to be lines in the first place lol.

So in conclusion, I feel so much better after making fun of people because I wish I had a 3gs
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by neonsox View Post

Some of us who preordered a week ago at an AT&T store are still waiting for our phones to show up at the store. Pre-ordering didn't give any priority at all.

That would be consistent with the past. I'd rather go into the store and get it same day.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #28 of 79
I got to the mall at 704am. Out side the apple store which had already opened was one TV camera crew, 4 or 5 security guards, 5 or 6 apple store employees, and two lines- one with 40 people, one with 5.

You checked in with the concierge outside the store who checked your name off a list. The longer line was pre-orders, the shorter line was non-pre-ordered. I was directed to the longer one, which moved very quick.
An apple employee would come out to the line and get you and take you into the store.. he asked what phone i ordered (16GB black), ok, he checked me off a second list, and rang up the order. Then he directed to another employee who did the activation.



I was out by 745am. No activation problems.. lines moved quick..
post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

ROFL! DUDE! I couldn't care less if I tried! I think its one of the funniest things ever to see a group of morons camping in the rain for this thing.

The iPhone most definitely is NOT like a concert ticket. You see, in a concert, there is a limited number of seats. A concert can be sold out. You think Apple's gonna stop making the 3gs? Is it a collector's item of some kind? Bad comparison here. I remember when I wanted to see Dave Mathews band back when I was in the 11th grade, they sold out within half an hour!

Look, I'm all for being a wild geek about something, and needing to have it right away, but this isn't practical at all. What's worse is eventually a couple of morons will get into an argument here over the iphone being "the best" and one of those morons will point to the lines formed for it and make a comment how lines didn't form for any other phone. There didn't need to be lines in the first place lol.

So in conclusion, I feel so much better after making fun of people because I wish I had a 3gs

Amen! When we waited is line for Jaguar at least that was an historic day for a whole operating system. They all look so foolish waiting for something they can get tomorrow or the next day that is not that much different than the 3G. And one Dude waited and paid $400!!!
post #30 of 79
I've got a Best Buy gift card, so I was thinking about getting my iPhone at Best Buy.

Can anyone think of any reason I should get it at an Apple Store instead?

Thanks!
post #31 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I must have missed the theads on how "many iPhone ads in the papers", "getting your iPhone to talk to you", "which celebrities own the iPhone", "you iPhone is your new best friend", etc.

Apple news , dudes, "real" Apple news.

What would you know about an iPhone?

I am sorry, I had to
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

I've got a Best Buy gift card, so I was thinking about getting my iPhone at Best Buy.

Can anyone think of any reason I should get it at an Apple Store instead?

Thanks!

To avoid the Geek Squad at all costs!
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

I've got a Best Buy gift card, so I was thinking about getting my iPhone at Best Buy.

Can anyone think of any reason I should get it at an Apple Store instead?

Thanks!

There are certainly reasons people prefer the Apple Store, but if you are asking then those reasons will not apply to you. Use the closest and quickest method for you.
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post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There are certainly reasons people prefer the Apple Store, but if you are asking then those reasons will not apply to you. Use the closest and quickest method for you.

Now I ask you - whose answer do you prefer? This loopty loop one or mine?
post #35 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Amen! When we waited is line for Jaguar at least that was an historic day for a whole operating system. They all look so foolish waiting for something they can get tomorrow or the next day that is not that much different than the 3G. And one Dude waited and paid $400!!!

You waited in line for Jaguar? Really? And now you criticize others. What a world.
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

You waited in line for Jaguar? Really? And now you criticize others. What a world.

That was an event. A revolutionary OS. This is hardly the same- no comparison. This is a 3rd gen device.
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

...They all look so foolish waiting for something they can get tomorrow or the next day that is not that much different than the 3G. And one Dude waited and paid $400!!!

Today or tomorrow is up to them. I know you understand why, though. When someone is really excited about something, when someone really loves something he or she becomes somewhat irrational But you will never know what the feeling is!!!! I wish I could have it more often!

On a different note, the 3G S is MUCH different than the 3G. The 3G was the old phone + GPS and, well, 3G. The rest of the hardware was the same. Those two things, especially the GPS, opened the doors for new kind of applications, and, in fact, made the big difference. The 3G S offers a revamped hardware which for many 3G owners is worth the upgrade alone (I am not questioning the upgrade from 2G - if you did not lost your job or otherwise are not in a financial trouble, it is a must ). The video and the magnetometer (a.k.a. compass) are the new functional additions. The magnetometer is widely underestimated as an add on. Using it as a compass is dead simple and straightforward, but it opens new possibilities for the developers as well. Just like the accelerometer straightforward use is for a 'level' application, but it is widely used in many apps. For example, with iPhone OS 3.0 it is used for undo system wide.

And then the new version of the OS. It is much, much, more important than the new iPhone. Besides bringing new life to the old phones (something alien to the phone industry before Apple stepped in), it opens a new UNIVERSE for hardware add ons and will cement Apple's leading position for the years to come. Think about it: if a current user switches to a different phone he or she will say good bye to tens of apps (out of those 50000 and counting on the AppStore) and soon will have to ditch the hardware add ons they bought. Not tempting, isn't it? But there is "one more thing" you know! It showed unmatched pace of development and innovation and the huge potential of the OS. No matter how many phones RIM and Nokia sell, they are not in the same software league anymore.
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There are certainly reasons people prefer the Apple Store, but if you are asking then those reasons will not apply to you. Use the closest and quickest method for you.

Actually, I prefer the Apple Store myself, generally. It's just that I have this Best Buy gift card. My concerns are, if I have a problem with my iPhone that I bought at Best Buy, will I be able to bring it to an Apple Genius for help? What about down the line when I want to replace the battery? Stuff like that.

Any thoughts? Thanks!!

:d
post #39 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

Good grief. It's so stupid how people are lining up for these phones. One day! Just wait ONE FREAKING DAY and there won't be lines.

the GOTTA HAVE IT NOW crowd is hilarious.

Or do like a lot of us did and pre-ordered and had it delivered, I had mine by 10am and it was active by 10:05, activated as soon as i plugged it in and put in my info, no hitches at all.

This is my first iPhone by the way and i fucking LOVE it ..
post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by dak splunder View Post

Actually, I prefer the Apple Store myself, generally. It's just that I have this Best Buy gift card. My concerns are, if I have a problem with my iPhone that I bought at Best Buy, will I be able to bring it to an Apple Genius for help? What about down the line when I want to replace the battery? Stuff like that.

Any thoughts? Thanks!!

All that takes place through Apple, so you can do all your genius stuff through Apple. If you take to an AT&T store and its a HW issue they will ship it to Apple for repair.

Its one of the things reported that Verizon would not allow. Apple controls their own servicing and call center for their phones. If you dial 611 you get to choose if it is an account issue that requires an AT&T CSR or an iPhone specific issue that funnels you to the US-operated call center. This is much nicer than someone having to deal with dozens of devices, especially if they are in India.
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