While it certainly wasn’t the nerdiest thing I have ever done, waking up at 6am on Friday morning to get an iPhone 3G is up there. I got to the Chestnut Hill mall around 6:40am and was approximately 50-60 people deep in the line. The store was not opening until 8am, so I sat down on the floor, busted out my laptop, and caught up on my RSS feeds, etc. Quickly the line was twice as long, extending all the way out of the mall.. My “line buddies” were all pleasant and we were chatting the whole time. We had heard that the Apple Store had planned on moving 100 customers per hour through the store, so being 50 people deep I was expecting to be out of the store by 9pm at the latest. While we waited Apple had people going up and down the line giving out Coffee, Tea, and some kind of fancy (smart or vitamin) water, which I thought was a nice showing of appreciation of your psycho-fans.
The store opened at 8am and they let the first batch of about 25-30 people in. They easily had 30 employees working the store, so it seemed like everything would move along quickly. Unfortunately, as some of you are already aware, this was not the case. It was quickly apparent as 20-30 minutes passed with only a handful of customers leaving the store that things were taking longer than they estimated. Apparently both AT&T and Apple’s servers were getting crushed. The server for the wireless handheld POS terminals the Apple employees use even crapped out at one point, although that was a quick reboot..
It was 9:40 before I got into the store, and all that meant was further standing in line. I finally was served around 10:15am, but it took forever to execute the transaction because of the network/server crush. Initially, after I finally paid, they took me to a station where they tethered the phone to a mac and tried to activate it with iTunes, but within the first minute the rep mentioned something about doing it at home and I jumped. I got out of the store at 10:40, and there were easily still 150+ plus people still waiting on line. Apparently soon after I left they stopped trying to activate the phones in the store at all, so perhaps the line started moving along quicker after that.
I got home and tried to activate, but it wasn’t until after lunch that I had any luck.. Eventually, either Apple/AT&T fixed their problems or enough people gave up that I was able to activate.
All that said, I kind of expected these kinds of problems, so while it sucked, I was prepared for it to suck… I’m loving the phone so far, although it’s going to take me awhile to become proficient at typing..