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StaffIncremental BloggerWaiting in line for an iPhone in Chandler Mall

Waiting in line for an iPhone in Chandler Mall

Bob and I just arrived at the Chandler Mall to join the Apple iPhone line. I was expecting maybe a dozen people. We had to pass almost 100 to get to the end of the line. I don’t know if that’s good or not. We’ll see.

An Apple worker just dropped off some water, which was nice. She didn’t have any idea of the number of units that would be available though.

Here’s a photo I took looking down the line from the Apple store. You can’t make out where our spot is because we’re around the corner. As of right now (1:48PM) there are probably another 20 people or so behind us.


The Arizona Republic has an article here about the lines that have been forming around the two Apple stores here in Phoenix.

Update: 4:45PM There are about 100 people behind us now in line. Best part for everyone though is that there’s air conditioning for all. 🙂 I’m so glad I didn’t go over to the Biltmore Apple store. I would have had to wait outside in the heat. I can’t imagine what that would have been like.

I’ve been wanting to video broadcast from the line, however, mall security won’t let us hook up to any power. So broadcasting EVDO from battery on my Toshiba Tablet isn’t going to last but a few minutes. We’re too far away from a wireless signal where we’re at. Once the line gets moving I’m hoping that I can switch over to the UMPC and broadcast from it. We’ll see.

The line has been quite quiet. Many people are leaving a place holder behind and walking the mail, shopping, eating, and so on. A few are holding their spot as tightly as a precious plot of land–but most are more leisurely about it.

I’ve asked a few people why they’re in line for an iPhone. Most people say because the talk of the iPhone has been so strong for the last six months that they can’t resist. They want to own the latest and greatest. Interestingly, many of the people are going to be switchers, moving from their current wireless carrier to AT&T. A large number of them have been planning carefully not to get tied down with a contract so that they can get the new Apple iPhone.

By the way, there are quite a few Macs in line, however, I’m not the only one with a Windows-based machine. Bob and I, however, are the only ones I’ve seen that are running Vista. Most are running XP on their laptops.

Update (Saturday 6:30AM): Whew! Got an 8GB iPhone.

How did it go? About 15 minutes before the store re-opened, the camping chairs folded up and the line squeezed tightly. After a six plus hour wait, the Apple store was now in view. There was shouting and cheering at the front of the line. I wasn’t sure what it was all about; we couldn’t see. However, we could tell that there were quite a few Apple employees at the front of the Apple store cheering the crowd on. The press was all about too. Taking pictures, getting that last minuite interview. About this time I was ready to use the restroom, but there was no time. Had to get my iPhone. Heh.

One thing I forgot to mention was that during the wait, Apple provided free water bottles and lots of friendly cheer. Noone would say how many iPhones they had. They’d just say there was “enough.” I’m guessing there were 300 people in line by the time the store opened. Quite a few people showed up at the last minute. A couple employees walked the line shouting out the procedures that we could follow to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible if we wanted, but we were encouraged to browse and ask questions. They said they’d only be able to allow a limited number of people in the store at a time because of the fire code. This could take awhile everyone thought.

About five minutes to go the cheering at the head of the line got louder. One minute to go, it was a roar. Still couldn’t make out anything, though. In contrast, the long tail of the line was quiet. We could guess what was going on, but there weren’t any Apple employees to encourage us along, so I think we just stood there and imagined what it would have been like if we were #1 in line. People were still excited though. For the most part. There were quite a few tired people, of course.

I’d say they were letting in about 30 or 40 people in the store at once. And after about three or four minutes the first few people were coming out of the store with their iPhones. As someone would leave, they’d let someone else in. The line moved relatively quickly though. About 10+ minutes after the store opened, we were in.

What did the store look like? Kind of like it always did, although at each station there were lots of Apple employees and a handful of black iPhone bags and black iPhone boxes against the walls behind them. The idea was to find an employee with a PDA-checkout device and give them a credit card and get your iPhone. I think there were as many Apple employees as customers. I’m not sure what they were all doing. Quite a few had the PDA device, but only a handful were using them. Some others greeted customers. Some stuffed bags. Some were answering questions. Some were checking customers out. There were lines grouped around each station though.

I found one line about six people deep. It moved rather quickly though. After about three or four minutes of waiting, I had my iPhone and I was heading out the door. I didn’t even check to see what else might be in the store. Out I went, three or four Apple employees thanking me as I left.

Now what I thought? Hmmm. Food? There was a part of me that was ready to open the iPhone box right away and check it out, but I realized I was tired. Bob was too. So seriously, after all this wait, I went home and fell asleep. It’s almost 7AM in the morning and I still haven’t opened the iPhone box. Kind of silly, isn’t it?

After breakfast, I’ll take some pictures and try to activate the phone. I’m very curious to see what the touch experience and the onscreen keyboard is like.

Loren Heiny (1961 - 2010) was a software developer and author of several computer language textbooks. He graduated from Arizona State University in computer science. His first love was robotics.

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