iPhone 3G: Come on in, the Water’s Fine!

If you read all the press on Friday, it sounded like a full-out iPocalypse as Apple’s in-store activation of the iPhone failed, which left a bunch of people steamed. I left a Summize search for [iphone] up in my browser; there were probably 10K+ twitters on Friday that mentioned the iPhone.

By afternoon I noticed that Twitter complaints about the activation and 2.0 firmware were dying off, so my wife and I decided to do a “date night” to wait in line for an iPhone at Valley Fair Mall in Santa Clara. We showed up at 3 p.m., waited in line for two hours and 45 minutes, and had our iPhones ready and activated by 6 p.m. The line moved slower than last year because this year Apple required that you activate the phones in the store. If you don’t want to wait in long lines, a good strategy for Apple products is just to show up later in the day after the initial surge subsides. Last year we waited until evening to buy our first iPhone and the line was only five people long.

Here’s what you need to know: the activation issues were resolved by Friday afternoon, and most of the lines at Apple stores should be pretty manageable now. Apple provides a page to check local iPhone availability. The page looks like this:

Locations to buy iPhone

All three Apple stores in Silicon Valley have iPhones in stock, for example. If there are multiple stores in your area (check this page for Apple store locations and phone numbers), call each one to see who has the shortest line.

I like my iPhone 3G a lot, and plan to do several iPhone-related posts. The main thing you need to know right now is that any snafus on Friday were temporary, and it should be pretty doable to get an iPhone 3G now if you want one.

37 Responses to iPhone 3G: Come on in, the Water’s Fine! (Leave a comment)

  1. We still have the unlocked ones in India, No option for a legal one yet, though iPhone booking in India has started. Lets hope we dont need to stand in a queue :D

  2. you are lucky as I had to wait for nearly 5 hours to get hold of mine.

  3. Sean, sorry to hear that. Sounds like a doublecheck phone call to the closest iPhone stores may be the most reliable way then.

  4. By the way, I had to edit that web page picture to make it fit. Take a look at the raw picture:

    I can think of at least a couple ways to make that web page easier to read: 1) there’s a ton of wasted space between the store name and the availability icons. Trim some of empty space in the middle so that the store name is closer to the availability. 2) Make the rows alternate background color between white and a different color so that it’s easier to trace across.

  5. What do you think of the new 3G model? What did you do with your 1st generation iPhone? How many apps have you already loaded onto it?

    That should be enough questions for now :)

  6. Mike

    Yikes, who designed that page?

    1) It doesn’t even work for me (Firefox 3/Switzerland). It has all the instructions but no actual widgets to choose a location. They just aren’t there. Not even a gap where they should be – very confusing!

    2) Has the highly talented graphics designer who made that page never heard of colour-blindness? I can’t tell the squares and circles apart colour-wise, making it an absolutely useless readout. I assume one of them means “unavailable” but what on earth was wrong with ticks and crosses??

  7. I’ve got a year left on my Treo contract with Sprint. We’ll see what fun upgrades Apple releases in 2009 and what “iPhone Killer” phones come out in that time period.

    Won’t get another Palm. They seem to think that if they keep changing the case, no one will notice that they haven’t upgraded the processor or software in like 4 years.

  8. Can’t afford iPhone, got HTC TyTnII instead.
    OK, so it doesn’t look as sexy as the iPhone but the Touch interface is pretty useable, the HSDPA access is blisteringly fast (where available), screen is really useable – and I just love the tactile feel of the slide out QWERTY when compared to a touch screen. Mind you, screen still gets covered in messy fingerprints!

    Syncs well with corporate emails, media player works well -camera is OK (probably the only weak spot in that it lacks a flash – but heck, that’s why I have a DSLR AND a compact digital carea for snapshots)

  9. Matt,
    First off did anyone recognize you in line?
    I am wondering when the day will come when you are regularly recongnized in public outside of the SEO world.

    Also, can you select text on a web page to cut and paste? If so how easy is it?

    That was the killer on not buying the last verison of I-Phone.

    I am glad you find such joy in the phone. Tech moments of love are to be remembered!

    dk

  10. Over here in the UK only one network can sell the iPhone (O2 – which incidentally has a poor reputation for signal) and Apple have supplied each store with 40 iPhones….yip only 40. It’s chaos already, poor old Blighty.

  11. Honestly, I don’t get iphone mania – and I don’t like being tied into either Apple or O2 for that long … I really want one, but wouldn’t pay that much just now – it is just too expensive…

    I am curious about the coming Gphone – being a long time user of Google products (mail / calendar / docs / talk etc..) something that ties into how I would like to work would definently be preferential…

    Gerry

  12. Just like Gerry, I can’t get excited about the iphone. I’ve got a 3 year old Razr that I use to make phone calls and send texts, I don’t even know how to take a picture with it. I’m not a technophobe it’s just that there are more important things in life than being able to connect to the internet when I’m out enjoying the fresh air.

    PS: Don’t even own an MP3 player – I like talking to people and you can’t do that with a bit of wire stuck in your ear.

  13. I don’t understand why someone would pay so much for a phone! It seems like the iphone mania is just hype getting to everyone’s head. It’s like Microsoft releasing another OS w/ more bugs. Personally I would buy a much cheaper phone.

  14. @Chilli – it’s worset than that the UK O2 store a friend of mine used, had 3 16G phone and 5 8G phones!

    Also the O2 software to activate the network connection only ran in Internet Exploer, which gave the Apples stores a few problems!

  15. Still our of reach… :(
    A product becomes a necessity when a Common Man is able to buy it.

  16. Matt:

    You must have one really special wife for her to have a “date night” with you in line to get an iPhone. :)

  17. Will

    I drove over to Louisville Sunday morning to go to the only Apple store in the state (Kentucky). We got there at it’s regularly scheduled opening time (they had opened early though many apparently didn’t know it) and had a few people in line ahead of us. We were out of there with 2 new white 16gb models in under an hour. That was with an existing family plan that also included a corporate discount. So far I’m really liking it and have been impressed with the 3G speed. Synched up with my Gmail contacts easily. Still waiting for an applet to synch with my Google calendar.

  18. Until they open it up to other carriers, I’m going to remain iPhoneless, though I still have my hacked iPod Touch for wireless access anywhere I happen to be. I’d even switch, if it weren’t for this pesky family plan with my pesky family on it.

  19. Leslie

    Does anybody know if the new iphone 3g is able to change the color on your text message/SMS messages with the iphone matte from the first version??

    even the old version said their might be little problems but
    I don’t want to try it if this new version can’t support or will either ruin the phone.

    anyone else heard about the iphone matte?

  20. Couldn’t you just tell the store manager “hey, I’m Matt Cutts. Put me in front of the line and i’ll link to your blog”? Although that may be considered as a paid link! :P

  21. It looks like Apple has taken down that page with the individual store’s availability.

  22. Harith

    Matt,

    And I hereby declare you as Mr. iPhone :)

  23. purposeinc Said, “I am wondering when the day will come when you are regularly recongnized in public outside of the SEO world.”

    Lol, I was thinking the exact same thing. For some reason, I thought you wouldn’t have to wait in line for this kind of stuff Matt, with such classics lines as, “don’t you know who I am, I can derank you like zis… *kapooof*… or then again, how come you had to leave the house for one. That’s shocking. :D

    Can’t wait to get one, when I finalllly get the chance.

  24. I absolutely love the new iPhone 3G, battery life kinda sucks but I can’t stop playing with it.

  25. I absolutely love the new iPhone 3G, battery life kinda sucks but I can’t stop playing with it.

    If you stopped playing with it, that might take care of your battery life issues!

    (ork ork)

  26. It took most of the day waiting in line on Friday but I finally got mine. It’s wonderful!

  27. Any iPhone users have case recommendations? I use to carry my phone in my pocket, but I’m afraid of scratching/breaking the phone by doing that.

  28. John32t

    Matt:

    I was going to wait a few weeks to jump in the IPhone pond but as we were finishing shopping for various and sundry things at Stanford Mall in Palo Alto, I noticed the line to get an IPhone was nearly non-existent at the Apple Store.

    Not being one to let an opportunity go by, I hopped in line and 20 minutes later had a fully activated and functional phone in my hand. 10 minutes later, I received a text message saying that my number had been ported from my other carrier.

    Not a bad bit of luck at 5:30 on a Sunday afternoon.

    JT

  29. Dave McAnally

    Whoa wait a minute. You mean you took your wife on a date to wait in line to buy a cell phone? Where’s the romance man!!!

  30. Got mine from the O2 store here in the UK, I had a 1st gen model, the new 3G version is a world apart, very impressive, other than the monthly contract charge of £45!

  31. Hey Matt;

    Sadly I just got a Blackberry a few months ago and can’t upgrade for another 2 years now :( Hopefully they will have an iphone Z10 or some such out by that time! I was wondering in the opinions of yourself and the other commentees, what differences they perceive between iphones and Blackberries. Save the obvious, touchscreen and iTunes compatibility of course. Though I would love both of those features, aside I am quite pleased with my new Perl. So I invite all of you iPhone diehards to go ahead and burst my bubble now!

  32. Thanks for the post Matt. I wish I had so many Apple stores around me. There isn’t an iPhone in the midwest for me. :( I dropped the iPhone I have and the screen is all smashed. I think I showed you at SMX Seattle.

    Sigh… the search continues.

  33. John A. Davis

    iPhone service contract is too expensive.

  34. Rob

    Hi Gerry…so you are okay being married to Google then? Bottom line is you have to “commit” to something on some basic level when choosing a tool from a vendor…otherwise we’d still be hunting antelope with home made spears and heating our caves by rubbing sticks together to start fires. Though not perfect w/o a doubt it’s the easiest, yet most advanced handheld that I’ve ever owned. I finally see what all the madness has been about. Someday, there’ll be better, and if it’s time to get a new phone, then yes I’ll be there – Google, iPhone, whatever…bring on the better tools that help us get our work done.

    Former HP Jornada, Treo 300 and 600, and Blackberry Owner
    New iPhone 3g owner.

  35. I am crazy about iPhones. It has excellent features and design. Very sophisticated look. Looking forward to buy iPhone 3G.

  36. Until they open it up to other carriers, I’m going to remain iPhoneless, though I still have my hacked iPod Touch for wireless access anywhere. A product becomes a necessity when a Common Man is able to buy it.

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