Friday, July 11, 2008

Adventures of the new iPhone 3G

Having totally shunned buying anything brand new right when it comes out because of the lines, the hype, the problems, the angry crowds with pitchforks and torches when there are the problems, funny thing was that at 7 a.m. this morning, there was hubby and I at the mall camped outside the Apple store for the grand unveiling of the new iPhone 3G.

One of the reasons why we wanted to come so early was that so hubby could get some pictures of the fun to post in ireporter on CNN and to hone his photography skills, and since we were there, why not get into line and get the latest piece of wonderous apple technology.

The first guy in line, who had been there since midnight was a teenager. He wasn’t even going to get a new iPhone, he just liked to be the first in line for things. I found that odd, and a bit funny.

There was approximately 44 people lined up at that time, so after some pictures, I got into the line before more people showed up and made fast friends with the people around me, most of whom didn’t have an iPhone, so I was explaining how it all works using my “old” iPhone. I even convinced the one guy to call his wife and convince her that she needed one. I really need to start finding a way to get commissions on things like Dyson vacuums and iPhones.

I have to hand it to the Apple staff at the Annapolis mall, they walked around handing out water, provided us with Starbucks coffee and donut holes. They kept us up to date on what we would need to do, how they would run the show, everything. Fantastic staff, very cheerful... until the problems started.

Even though I was 45 in line, it took about an hour just to get to the front of the store. Apparently they were only letting in a few people, and frankly, the kid who was just there to be the first in line and was odd and a bit funny now really pissed me off because he was still in the store, lounging around and not buying anything which meant another person couldn’t be let in until one left. He was no longer odd and a bit funny, we all wanted to strangle him.

After an hour and a half, we finally made it into the store and it became quite clear why their estimate of taking only 10-15 minutes to buy and activate your phone was not working out as planned. First, AT&T was having issues with people who had corporate accounts with discounts. Then there were some issues with existing users being charged full price for the phone when they should have only paid the existing user charge, then the Apple store network got bogged down, then the iTunes store died a horrible death, therefore nobody could get activated.

While we waited in line to be “seen” by someone, we went and got all of the necessary accessories for the new phone: new case, new screen covers, screen cleaners, a protector for hubby’s laptop, etc. We carted those around with us while we slowly shuffled through the line.

FINALLY our turn came and we told the woman that we wanted two black 16gb iphones, we’re existing iphone customers, get us our phones!!!! The problem with us started the moment she tried to ring up our purchase, and like clockwork, AT&T said we needed to pay full price. We were then handed over to Pam K who was on the phone with AT&T trying to straighten that out. Pam was wonderful, and so was Mike who also pitched in to get us our phones for the right price. She spent a loooong time on the phone, so long that I actually left the store, went to Starbucks to use the bathroom and get lattes, come back and she was still dealing with them. FINALLY they had some sort of solution and AT&T activated my phone, then we went through a similar process with hubby’s phone and they insisted it was for the full price. Sigh. The apple store employees decided that it would just be better to “finagle” the price for us rather than deal with AT&T again, which they did.

By now its 12:30 pm, and although there were some not so very happy people in the store going through similar issues that we did, not to mention others that had sat around for a few hours while their phones were activated, we continued to joke around and be happy people because its not the employees’ fault all of this was going on and there were glitches in the system, so why take it out on them.

Our good behavior got us ALL of our accessories for FREE. Yes, they totally rang in our stuff and discounted it all down to a penny for us because we were so nice. So, nice gets nice things for a change. Since iTunes was clogged and since we’ve activated our phones before with the old model, they suggested that we just go home and activate them from there rather than wait who knows how long before they could activate them. Totally cool.

The only non-totally cool thing was that we didn’t have phones any more. The moment they activated the new phones, the old ones stopped working. Not having a cell phone after having one for so long is pretty much like having a lung removed. You are lost, can’t function, and know for certain that your car will break down on the way home at the exact spot where wild hungry lions have escaped from a zoo and are circling the truck hungrily. We raced home after stopping for gas even though we didn’t really need it, but was convinced that we’d run out anyway.

Got home and sure enough, still had issues with connecting it to iTunes because of the masses of people trying to activate their phones. After about 2 hours of hitting reconnect over and over and over, I finally got through and went through the screens to activate the phone, sync’d my phone and TAH DAH... no service. What? It also says that its January 17th of 2017 and 9 a.m. Um...

Hubby finally got through, activated his phone, sync’d his phone and his worked flawlessly. WTF???

I called AT&T and said WTF???

They said that it may take a while for my activation to go through. Sometimes it takes up to 24 hours. That sounded an awful lot like tech support telling me to reboot my computer and call back if that doesn’t work and then you’ll get someone else to yell at, but I said ok. I actually went through the effort to restore my phone, install everything again, re-sync... no service. BASTARDS!

The WiFi works great, I can get e-mails, and cruise the internet... I just can’t call anyone. I went two hours, stewing, then call AT&T again. They clicked some keys, verified my phone’s ID, said they were doing something to push the activation through... nothing. No service. Heaving sigh. They transfer me to apple support where I got to listen to some very nice hold music for a long time.

Jump through the hoops with them, and they said that there’s nothing they can do because that’s AT&T’s thing and yes, it can take up to 24 hours to activate. SONOFA......

So, hubby is very happy with his, very zippy quick on the 3G network, works great, wonderful, life is good... I have the equivalent of an iPod touch at the moment. I have my pictures, I have my songs, I have my e-mail, I can cruise the internet (as long as there is WiFi) but no phone. Frankly I don’t know who to be mad at.

Rather than sit and stare at the “No Service” thing until it changes, I put it aside and tried to go on with my life, but I keep going back and checking it, cursing at it. If its not activated by tomorrow (and frankly I have no faith it will) then I have to call someone back and get something done about it.

Its like half of my brain is gone without a phone... I can’t even think straight. I hate technology. When it works, you’ll hear nothing but happy things, but until then... I’m going to sit and sulk.


Tracey and Huffle said...

I can't believe you stood in line! That is the most unbelievable part of this whole story to me.

Tracey and Huffle said...

Forgot to mention, I am TOTALLY jealous and I want one right now.

RGP said...

Wow, I am totally having iPhone envy..except for the whole not activating part. That sounds like hell. I have Verizon and I know how helpful they can be on just a regular old day when nothing new is being released.

I hope it works for you soon!