iPhone Day at the Mall of America

Yesterday was the launch of Apple's updated iPhone 3G, and since I work just across the street from the Mal of America, one of the largest malls in the country, I had a pretty prime spot for the retail madness that was the updated iPhone.  So here's what yesterday looked like for me.

First, I had a meeting before work at Starbucks, so we passed by the Mall of America Apple Store, where there was about 70 people in line at 7am.  The store opened at 8am, a couple hours earlier than usual, in order to take care of the demand, so the folks in line didn't have too much longer to wait.  About 5 minutes before 8am, we went by again and the amount of persons in line had actually doubled.  Then I went to work.

During the morning, a couple co-workers were trying to get an iPhone.  Pete took the morning off and got to a local AT&T Store at 7am, but was told that the store only had 20 iPhones and the line was already there to get those.  I think he went to another AT&T store and was there for a couple more hours working to get an iPhone, but in the end, only the 8GB iPhones were still left.  He was working to see if he could trade up later as he was told that some AT&T stores were getting more stock that afternoon.  Josh only started looking at about 7:30am, and after seeing the line at the MOA Apple Store, he thought he'd check the AT&T store.  He still had to be at work around 8am, so he decided not to wait in that shorter line either.

Sometime around 7:30am (CDT) nationwide the iPhone activation servers started to get flaky from the overwhelming traffic.  Like I said, Pete got an iPhone, but the activation process was not working, so neither his old phone nor his iPhone now worked until he could get it activated.  Also, because of the cheaper price being subsidized by AT&T, they were doing all the signing up and getting it activated in the stores, which made the lines long because it took 15-20 minutes or more per person to get signed up.

Over the lunch hour, Josh and I walked around the mall seeing if we could get an iPhone.  We walked into an empty AT&T store and were quickly told that the had completely sold out of the 140 iPhones they had.  At the Apple Store around 12:15pm, we found about 60 people in line, and we knew that it'd take an hour or two that we didn't have to get through the line, so we went back to work again.

Mid-afternoon, David came by and showed us a brand-new, working iPhone 3G that he got after over three hours at an Edina Apple Store.  It was fun to play around with it a bit, but of course the best part of the new iPhone is the downloadable applications, and I was not about to fill David's phone with applications he didn't want.  (I hope one of the co-workers will buy Super Monkey Ball because I really want to play it.)

After work at 5:15pm, I walked past the MOA Apple Store again and found about 50 people in the line outside the store.  I asked one of the guys at the front how long he'd been in line, and he told me about an hour.  I also tried to check up at a downtown Minneapolis AT&T store on my way home, but that part of downtown is a ghost town by 6pm, so I couldn't even get into the building, and the skyway store was probably closed anyways.

As far as the iPhone goes, I'm glad that the iPhone App Store is finally here so that other developers can fill in the functionality gaps for me and entertain me with innovative games.  However, AT&T's updated monthly rates are, as my friends say, "hella expensive," such that whenever I get an iPhone I'd be paying $25-$30 more per month - and that's a hefty price to pay.  Therefore, I'm still in no hurry to upgrade to an iPhone over the Palm Treo I currently have, but once I get an iPhone, I will enjoy the enhanced experienced delivered from my mobile phone.  And, who knows, by then, they'll probably have the newer and better one out.



I still find it odd that there is such a demand for the iPhones. seems odd to me that someone is willing to wait for the brand new gadget, providing vendor lock in to AT&T instead of waiting longer for a cheaper price and non vendor exclusives. even the iPod touch I am typing on I got for free from mysql.

Totally, Mike. In fact, although the upfront price is cheaper, the $299 iPod Touch can do 98% of the things the iPhone can do and run probably just as many of the applications. Unless you want the internet access and need the phone as well, the iPod touch is about the same and a lot cheaper in the long run. Still, I probably will get the iPhone in a year or two because it means I won't carry around an iPod and a phone in my pocket day-to-day - it will all be one device to carry and that's great.

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