Monday, September 8, 2008

iPhone 3G Review: A Rough Start

When I started writing out the review of the iPhone 3G I realized that I really had a lot to say about it. This made the simple task of writing a review seem like a much more daunting task. So instead of trying to write out the entire thing and post it all at the same time I have decided to go through the review in multiple posts. The first of which will be this one covering the initial attempt to get an iPhone 3G and the horrible AT&T experience.

The lines were of course quite expected for the launch of a previously $400 phone that was now only $200. Half the price was something that made it hard for a lot of people to pass up (even though we will pay more in the long run than we did for the original iPhone). With lines already formed outside of the most popular stores the night before the launch, I could not help myself from being excited. I wanted the new iPhone just like everyone else and I even had the original already. This got me excited about making a game plan. At this point I had already figured out that I could sell my iPhone on eBay for more than it would cost to buy a new one that was better, so it was a no brainer to make the upgrade.

This left me to figuring out how I was going to make it work this time since the AT&T stores were opening early just for the launch and they were supposedly not going to be doing the excellent buy the phone and then take it home and activate it deal like they had for the first iPhone. This time around it was all about the control that AT&T wanted to have and for them to make sure that people were not unlocking phones or getting phones and not activating them on AT&T. This was the first ingredient in their recipe or disaster.

The next problem the launch had was poor decision to launch in so many countries at the same time. The demand was simply to high for the product now that the price was right and this made the launch an absolute mad house everywhere it was being sold. So first thing is first, my wife, daughter, and I went to the AT&T store near my work so that we could hopefully score two iPhones. We were in it for the 16GB Black model and we wanted it right then (I seem to have a hard time with patience when it comes to the latest gadget). We got there early, but there was already a line of about 50 in front of us. I started to sweat a little knowing that there could surely not be enough iPhones for everyone, but just a few minutes after we arrived the manager of the store came out and assured everyone that there were plenty of iPhones for everyone and they were going to try and make it as quick as possible. *Note: we already knew that it was going to be a long process because AT&T is stupid and decided to make everyone activate in store upon purchase.

So after waiting about 90 minutes for the phones to go on sale, we finally were in a moving line. This whole time we had to feed our baby girl and even had to change her once. It was a lot of work and certainly not the funnest thing to do, but we felt ok knowing that we were definitely going to get an iPhone for our trouble. Then the worst thing that could have happened did; the manager came back out and told us that they were running out of product. The man is lucky to be alive today after he had already told everyone that there were plenty of iPhones and now went back on his word. I wanted to kill him and so did the others around me. I know exactly why he lied to us, but the fact that he lied to us will prevent me from ever shopping at his store again.

This manager had the bright idea of making everyone wait there long enough so that they would have no choice but to stick it out just to preorder the iPhone for when it came back into stock. He wanted his employees and his store to get the sale and not to risk loosing the sale to another store. Talk about the wrong way to go about it. If he had simply said that from the beginning we could have made informed decisions. What’s worse, we had to wait for about 5 hours in total to simply order a phone with no guarantee of when it would come. The least he could have done is actually count the phones and start to hand out numbers to people so that we could go do something more useful with our time. AT&T is still my least favorite company.

Three weeks later we finally received notification that our phones were in the store and ready for pick up. The excitement had long since worn off and I just wanted my phone so that I would have GPS and 3G. It turns out they are not the greatest things, but we will get to that later. In the end it simply reassured me of one thing: I hate AT&T and the first opportunity I have to have an iPhone on another network, I will jump ship. Down with AT&T.