iPhone day in Columbus, Indiana


Well, I survived one of the most hyped days of my lifetime so far: 06/29/07 iPhone Day. Unlike a lot of lucky people, I had to work yesterday until 3:30pm. My excitement started building around noon and by the time my work day was done, I was out the door and on my way over to my local Cingular / Now AT&T store. I live in a very small town. I think the population these days is barely over 40,000. I didn’t figure there would be an actual line of people waiting to buy the phone, but I was surprised…

When I arrived, at 4pm, there were 4 people already situated by the door. The first person in line was a 16yr guy that had been there since 1:45pm. The guy in green in the picture above was quickly replaced by his sister (I think) to keep his place. Another guy not pictured had recently returned from Iraq, and the lady in the foreground was keeping a spot for her daughter who was working.

As each person walked up to get in line, an AT&T employee asked us which phone we were going to buy, the 4gb or 8gb. We were then given a flyer with either a 4 or 8 on it. This was our magic ticket to get into the store at 6pm ;o) She and another AT&T person kept us company until 4:30pm at which time they went in the store and locked the doors to get ready for 6pm.

During the rest of the 90 minute wait, customers kept coming to the store to try to go in to pay their bills, shop and etc, and were pretty peeved that the store was closed to them. Makes you wonder how many potential customers AT&T lost yesterday all over the country due to the iPhone…

We were also visited by a reporter and photographer for our local newspaper (The Republic) and a reporter from the BetaNews.com blog. I’m standing in the next to last picture in their post which has a caption of “iPhone lines formed even in Columbus, Indiana” ;o)

A few minutes before 6pm, an AT&T person came out and told us that the way it would work was that only 10 people would be allowed in the store at any one time. There would be a 1-1 ratio of customers to AT&T employees. We were also told that we would not be allowed to open the iPhone in the store. The phone would have to be activated offsite using a computer with net access and the latest version of iTunes. She also joked that if we got rowdy, there were security guards inside to take care of us. We all laughed, but then looked through the store windows and saw that she was actually serious. There were several ARMED (with guns!) security guards inside. Crazy!

At 6pm, I was one of the lucky first 10 people to be ushered inside the store. I had wondered what the big deal was about closing the stores down well in advance of the 6pm sales time. Well, the reason was that they had completely switched the store over to only have iPhone info/accessories/etc inside. As far as I noticed, all other phones were gone (of course, I didn’t really pay THAT much attention because all my focus was on buying my new phone). I was quickly directed to a specific AT&T employee, who took my flyer, got my 8gb iPhone, asked if I was a new or existing customer, swiped my credit card, stuffed my new iPhone in a special AT&T plastic bag with a sealed top and out the door I went with my new gadget!

As I walked through the parking lot to my car, it suddenly dawned on me that I was completely screwed for activating my phone that night. My T1 internet connection had been down due to a storm for the past 2 days. So on the way home, I was calling AT&T MIS (managed internet services) asking them the status on my repair and getting a bit anxious that I wouldn’t be able to play with my new toy as quickly as I originally thought I would be able to.

When I get home, the T1 line is still down… I start to consider that I might want to grab my Macbook Pro and head back up to town to find a free WiFi hotspot. Several phone calls, finally sitting down to eat dinner and overall tiredness vetoed going back to town. I decided to just unbox the iPhone, charge it (my usual new gadget ritual anyway) and go up in the morning to activate it.

As usual, Apple is the master at packaging.

Ooooh, ahhhhhhh….

They included a dock, and a tiny AC adapter. Yay!

The AC adapter accepts the included USB cable. Nice!

I forgot to mention that I was also given a brand new SIM card. You can’t use your existing AT&T / Cingular SIM in the iPhone. At least that was what I was told… I didn’t actually try it before activating.

I had been worried that the size of the iPhone would be bulky. It’s actually very nice.

In the included dock.

After I took the pictures, I went off to bed to dream of iPhones…

I woke up early this morning and tip-toed down the stairs to my basement to check to see if the T1 line had miraculously been resurrected. It had been!!! It had come back up at 4am. Yay!

I downloaded the new version of iTunes, plugged in the iPhone and activated it without much fuss. Now comes the fun part, actually playing with it! Excuse me while I go do that… ;o) Review coming in the next couple of days. :o)

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Jon Mack June 30, 2007, 1:44 pm

    Shiny! And thinner than I thought! Very interesting. I can’t wait for your review and for prices to drop so I can afford one.

  • Joshua Wolf June 30, 2007, 3:11 pm

    If by some strange impulse I decide I need one. The Apple stores in the area all have them still in stock.

  • carly June 30, 2007, 9:53 pm

    I bought mine yesterday! Even though the Apple store I went to had plenty, and they seem to still be in stock according to the website, I wanted to get it right away. I was probably ~100 in line, but it was worth it. I loved the experience of being there, with the apple store employees high fiving everyone.

    Julie, have you been able to tear yourself away yet? I was so excited I actually hung out at the apple store and watched their demo class for a while (admittedly I was also curious what foot traffic looked like, since I think this is a case study in marketting and demand).

  • Julie June 30, 2007, 10:03 pm

    I went to visit my Dad tonight and was giving him a demo of the phone. He was really impressed 🙂 The whole touch screen, pinch picture feature has a great pizazz factor!

  • carly July 1, 2007, 10:22 am

    I had people oohing and aahing over the rotating screen and the youtube app.

    Julie, I am curious if you are having the same experience I am; coming from a treo, do you feel like the iphone is incredibly small in comparison, even though they are around the same height?

  • Julie July 1, 2007, 10:30 am


    Yes, I feel the same way about the size of the iPhone compared to the Treo. I think it’s the thickness that makes the biggest difference. I had the iPhone in a cargo pants pocket yesterday and completely forgot it was there. :o)

  • Joshua Wolf July 1, 2007, 6:52 pm

    My local radio station HATES me (stupid winning contest entry).

    I now have an iPhone. I need to decide now if I want to pay two wireless bills for the next 9 months, or eat the early termination fee (which is cheaper but has to be paid all up front).

  • Julie July 1, 2007, 8:58 pm

    Congrats on winning a phone!!!

  • Joshua Wolf July 1, 2007, 9:59 pm

    Thanks. But being at work, and wanting to sync it with a Mac, means I have to wait until I get home. Which is still four hours away.

  • carly July 1, 2007, 10:19 pm

    Not only is it more comfy in a pocket, I am actually finding it to be very comfortable to hold against my face. i hate how it attracts face goop, but thats what the cleaning cloth is for.

    They definitely significantly tweaked the hell out of EDGE, at least in the nyc/nj area. It’s much faster than it used to be. Or the iPhone is just that good. Or both. But websites that took so long to load in blazer that I’d get up, grab a sandwich, eat it, go to the gym, shower and then start browsing on my treo are popping up graphics and all in well under 1min on the iphone.

  • mike roselius July 2, 2007, 10:36 am

    I was really disappointed to discover that without a voice / data plan, the iPhone is a complete brick.

    I am locked to a WinMobile phone per my job – at least until the iPhone gets ActiveSync – so I can’t switch over to the iPhone as my main phone – but I figured I might use it for everything BUT voice and data. Just the iPod, video, PDA functions would be cool – but apparently, until you actually connect w/ a plan, the iPhone won’t do a thing. BUMMER.

  • Joshua Wolf July 2, 2007, 10:09 pm

    That is one aspect that I do not like. If it isn’t activated you can’t do squat with it.

  • mike roselius July 3, 2007, 10:20 am

    Forgot that the iPhone supports pay as you go….depending on what my monthly costs might be to keep this thing with a dialtone – that might actually be an option.

    Until they release Activesync I don’t need voice or data – but if I can pay $5 a month just to keep it active, and use the rest of the features….

  • Rob Tillotson July 3, 2007, 12:53 pm

    Unfortunately, prepaid service for the iPhone is not affordable in the usual sense. It only supports GoPhone Pick Your Plan, not the pay-by-the-minute plans they call “Pay As You Go”. Furthermore, you are required to add the iPhone data service which costs $20/month on top of the minimum $30/month Pick Your Plan costs, so you’re looking at a minimum of $50/month plus whatever taxes and fees they add on. And unlike the per-minute plans, Pick Your Plan requires that you let it auto-bill your credit card or checking account every month, whether you need more airtime or not.

    So, I guess the choice for frugal mobile users is… throw money into the bottomless maw of AT&T for airtime you’ll never use, all for the privilege of not being outcast from modern iPhone society, or admit that you’re not the sort of quality consumer who belongs in the new world, and go back to your shudder ordinary cellphone, which undoubtedly will only continue to operate because our masters in the blue and orange deathstar have pity for our pathetic lives…


  • Tyler Puckett July 7, 2007, 7:03 pm

    While you are activating the iPhone, you can fake bad credit by using 999-99-999 as your SSN, which will make you activate the phone using Pay as You go. As long as you activate it, the iPhone will continue to work, even if you cancel the service immediately afterward. So, you don’t have to pay a dime to AT&T.

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