I've had mixed feelings about whether to upgrade my iPhone to the new 3G model. Ultimately, I get three things: 3G, GPS, and 8G more RAM than I have now. None of those alone were enough to tip me and together, they were marginal. Consequently I wasn't all in a tizzy over today's iPhone availability. Still, since I had a few friends who were excited to get one and were coming up to the Apple store in Salt Lake to get one, I figured I'd tag along and maybe pick on up. What I wasn't ready for was 7 or 8 hour lines.
I figured that iPhones would be plentiful. Beside, it wasn't the launch of a 1.0 product (and hence less excitement). On top of all that, after the doors opened last June the lines went so fast that I figured you'd be able to show up anytime today and waltz in and get one. Wrong.
What changed between last year and this one was the in-store activation. Last year, you bought your phone and took it home to activate it. Yeah! That was a heavenly experience. This year--to curb people buying phones so and then unlocking them--in-store activation is required. It's taking, according to some of the Apple Store employees working the line, 20-30 minutes.
That's when the activation system is working at all. There have been, according to reports, frequent break downs. Consequently, the line moves in fits and starts; lurching toward the door.
The whole experience, as a result, has been much more frustrating than last year. People waited in line last year and this year. But that's where the similarity ends. People aren't anxiously waiting for the doors to open and then rushing in to buy the product they've been lusting for. Instead, the doors have been open for 7 hours and hundreds of people are still lined up waiting for the machine to serve them because of IT problems. Big difference Apple.