We braved the masses of Apple fanboys today to get new 3G iPhones for all Phanfare employees. We don’t normally participate in mass hysteria events but we were so excited about the release of the Phanfare app for the iPhone that we could not help ourselves.
We arrived at 7am at the Menlo Park Mall in Edison, NJ. The experience did not disappoint. We got there at 7am to find more than 100 people already waiting outside the store.
Most people were waiting for the Apple store versus the ATT store next door. The ATT manager came out and berated the crowd that both his store and the Apple store had the same product. Yeah right. No way we were going to the ATT store when we could go the super-cool Apple store. The Apple employees were handing out Smart Water. The ATT folks were scrambling to find paper cups to hand out tap water.
By 10am somebody had cut in line in front of us. We reported the person to the Mall Police and after a minor confrontation where nobody raised their voice and no force was used, the geek left the line.
Once inside Mecca, we were quickly attended to by a shiny Apple employee wielding a PocketPC based portable Point of Sale device. Oh the irony! It was just around 11am that we got to the point of trying to provision our phones. At that moment, the west coast started selling phones, bringing ATT and Apple’s servers to their knees. It would be another HOUR before we got working phones, all the while waiting for the Pocket PC devices to take our orders.
The final step is to activate via iTunes, something you are supposed to be able to do instore. No dice. iTunes store servers were hopelessly unresponsive. We gave up and went to lunch, devices in hand. Once back at the office we tried repeatedly until the phones activated. Ahhhh.
These photos were taken with the Phanfare app running on a first generation iPhone. And one last thing, the ATT store did run out inventory around 11am as expected.
About 100 people ahead of us at 7am
The first lucky customers to get the phones.
The team gets their phones..slowly.
No joy activating the phone in the store via iTunes. We needed to finish the process back at the office.