The Limits of My Stupidity

Somewhere along the way during all of the build up and anticipation for this Friday’s release of Apple’s iPhone, I became personally invested in owning one on — or very soon after — the first day of release.

I had an ‘in’ for a while there, when a friend of mine who works at Apple assured me that he would help me procure one through internal means. But, as no sign of an employee purchase plan has yet presented itself, I’m realizing that I need to make alternative arrangements if I want to avoid the mortifying shame of getting caught still using my old mobile phone next Monday. I’d just about die of embarrassment. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.

Except… I’m cringing at the idea of queuing up outside the Apple Store to get my hands on one. That’s about where I draw the line, I think. Standing in line too easily dredges up memories of long spells in line at my local shopping mall trying to get decent tickets to see R.E.M. or some such act when I was sixteen — I guess I’m glad I experienced that kind of extravagant stupidity once, but I’m not about to do it again. Ever.

The fact that I’m more or less mentally committed to buying an iPhone at the first reasonable opportunity — regardless of what potentially scathing reviews its touch-based keyboard will undoubtedly receive — is enough, I think. I’m not going to physically plant myself on a sidewalk through heat, rain or multiple mealtimes just for bragging rights. It’s just too much; this personal investment in having an iPhone of my own by Saturday isn’t that important to me.

On the other hand, if you have a surefire plan to share queuing duties, let me know.

  1. I’m not in NY, but you could talk to these guys. I don’t think there’s a set number of iphones per customer, so maybe with a little cajoling you could be one of the first to get one. If so, we all expect a full design-centric review within hours 🙂

  2. I sat and waited 8 hours in the middle of the night for a Nintendo Wii, one week before Christmas. It’s not about “waiting,” it’s about sharing the experience with other enthusiasts. The conversations you’ll have with people in lines like that will far exceed the daily trough you’re accustomed to hearing. I say go for it and have fun. I will be.

  3. I agree with Devon–wait in line + share the experience. I’m sure it’ll be worth every minute. Heck I’d do the same if the phone was releasing here in Sydney!

  4. When Steve Jobs was asked how best to avoid the lines upon release of the iPhone, his advice was to bypass Apple stores and instead go to an AT&T store, as many people aren’t aware that they too will be selling it. I would image that AT&T store locations in Brooklyn (there is one in Brooklyn Heights) and Queens would have much less traffic, and a few phone calls could confirm which stores nearby are selling the iPhone. A visit to AT&T’s store locations page should start you off. Best of luck.

  5. Same boat here. I have an alternative means that I can’t speak of, but if that does not work, I’m planning on hitting the AT&T store within one hour of me that seems to meet two categories:

    1. Relatively high volume (i.e. in *some* sort of metro area, but not downtown Seattle).

    2. Relatively low income and/or chicness to the neighborhood.

    In my mind, the key is to go to a store that is consider “major enough” to get a good supply, but is plunked in the middle of a neighborhood whose citizens do not some apt to buy $600 phones.

    I have it whittled down to a couple of stores, both about 30-45 minutes away from Seattle… but hopefully, that won’t even be necessary. We’ll see.

  6. It is really annoying me that we are expected to get in that line without knowing about the phone/data plan rates on the other end of the line (and the 2-yr contract). Maybe we will know by then, but it’s not looking good.

  7. If you can bare to wait a few days (plus a few extra day for shipping) you can get one online. Supposedly they’ll be available on Friday.

    And as far as “sharing the experience with other enthusiasts,” I can’t speak for Khoi, but I can tell you that’s about the LAST thing I’d want to do. 🙂

  8. I love the title of this post. Obsessive design geek, know thyself.

    If you change your mind and join the queue, will you pick one up for me?

  9. So, after my connections too have failed I’m resorting to queueing up. I’ve confirmed that the Apple Store in question will have Wi-fi and with any luck it won’t rain. Sure it’s incredibly dorky but at this point I’m just that committed.

  10. I feel your pain. I have no idea how to secure an iPhone … my wife has offered to stand in line all day while I’m at work, but this is a last resort. Who wants to stand on 5th ave. all day long? Besides, there’s no guarantee that there will be phones left by the time I leave the office and get there. I’m an anti-camp-out kind of guy … I didn’t camp out and I have got Wii, so I know it can be done.

    I’d love to hear if you’ve come up with a good plan. I have this haunting feeling like I’m going to still be using my old phone on Monday. =(

  11. New York Magazine published an article that lays out the locations in the city and ranks them in order of expected stock. Remember that only official AT&T stores will carry the item, not affiliates.

  12. Gotta agree with Marty above. My personal experience with my MacBook was more than convincing proof for me of that statement. But in the meantime, allow us to writhe in our own jealousy for a while while we follow your adventures becoming the kid with the coolest phone in the block.

    Coming to think of it, being stone broke at this time of year may actually turn to be a good thing. 😛

  13. To some point I’m so tired of this iphone story. Aren’t there more important things in this world than being one of the first to own an iphone?

    This could be said about so many things — but in this case, I just don’t get why anyone is so excited: I mean it’s just a phone with a not very good camera, which can surf the internet (which is btw extremely expensive in Europe)

    I’m into Apple products as well, but this strange fanatic attitude towards the iphone is making me sick. You’d better give the money you’d pay to some charity organization and go out and have a nice weekend instead of waiting in a line to buy an iphone.

  14. Find a college student and pay him/her to wait in line for you. In the summer there aren’t any of those “10 bucks for a 20 minute research group” deals, so we’re all broke.

    I waited 13 hours for the Wii on day one, and I gotta say — I had a fantastic time. Everyone brought their DS and copies of Mario Kart. I may wind up doing the same for the iPhone if Mike D’s “source” proves fruitless.

  15. I don’t understand. It’s just a phone, who cares if you get it a week or even a month later? There are so many better ways of spending your time. Take a walk in the sun, visit a friend…
    A phone isn’t worth all of this hype, no matter how special it is.

  16. not only is it just a phone, maaike, but it’s exclusive to at&t — the same at&t who gives up customer data at the drop of a hat.

    it’s not worth it.

  17. Khoi I feel your pain brother. I’m not sure how I’m going to get it. I said to myself that I can just grab one a week later and not worry but then I thought of seeing other people with the phone and me still using my Moto. I’ve always been an early adopter, especially with Apple products. I’ve never had any issue with first gens, I personally think it’s a myth that you shouldn’t buy the first run of anything. Anyways I have to figure out how to get one on Friday. I’m definitely not waiting in line, just isn’t my thing, especially since there are always other way of getting it that day. When the 17inch powerbooks came out I needed to have one on the first day. I live in NYC and I found a store in Boston that had one left and I had them overnight it to me, that’s how crazy my obsession is. Our best bet is to either order it online and have it overnight saturday delivered or go to an AT&T store somewhere in the sticks.

    For those of you saying it’s just a phone, you really don’t get what iPhone is. It’s definitely not JUST A PHONE. Also it’s kind of insulting to suggest that there are more important things to worry about as if none of realize that. I think all us crazy people do realize that in the end it’s not that important but we still want it.

  18. It might not be that bad.

    Apple has announced that activation can be done from home via iTunes, so my bet is Apple Store and AT&T staff have been instructed to shew people out the door as fast as possible.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the have a TV’s playing the how to setup at home video (see

    So other than the punks who want to lurk around the store playing with demo models, it might be possible that the lines will move relatively fast.

    Unlike recent Xbox, Wii and PS3 releases, you have to keep in mind that Apple has *a lot* of control about the purchase experience. They are not reling on Walmart, Target and Best Buy to get it right.

    My bet is that their is a seriously streamlined game plan for store staff to cycle customers through, and the lines may not be that painful.

  19. Althought I’m not a huge fan of new phone technology releases. I’m planning on buying one too in the very near future. This one just makes the rest pale in comparision. Albeit a huge price tag but I think it’s worth it. It’s like the PS2 / 3 when they came out sold out instantly. I also assume ebay will be selling some at ridiculously high prices!

  20. antonio, let me be clear… i’m not judging anyone who’s hot to get this fresh off the assembly line. the iphone looks beautiful and amazingly powerful; i truly “get it.”

    that being said, i think at&t is the worse case example of a business that despises its own customers. apple could be releasing iMoneyGrowsFromTrees and i wouldn’t go near it if at&t was part of the equation.

    so with that perspective, i have to reduce it to “just a phone.”

  21. I need my (gadget) head examined. What is happening to me? For once, I do *NOT* want to be the first oone to own a new apple product? Hmm… I guess the iPod experience has taught me a lesson. I’ll be standing in line for iPhone version 2.0. A guy at the T-Mobile store said that at&t only has the exclusive rights for 5months and that most other carriers are likely going to get it too. (fingers crossed)

    I am traveling to Switzerland on tuesday and I am so curious to see what the overall response in the ‘old country’ is regarding Apple’s latest release.

    Good luck with getting your hands on one Khoi!

  22. Sean Coon, I totally respect that. I have issues as well with AT&T. I’m a Cingular customer and it peeved me off that they were bought by ATT but it is what it is. Apple went with ATT cause they gave them the power to change a lot of things that suck about current cellphones, one of them being voicemail.

  23. swissmiss: “A guy at the T-Mobile store said that at&t only has the exclusive rights for 5months and that most other carriers are likely going to get it too. (fingers crossed)”


    more like 5 years:

    “AT&T has exclusive U.S. distribution rights for five years — an eternity in the go-go cellphone world. And Apple is barred for that time from developing a version of the iPhone for CDMA wireless networks.”

  24. tina, you nailed the other side of my perspective.

    i bought a 2nd generation iPod, which had interface issues and a crap battery that died one year and a day after purchase (apple customer service actually chuckled at my bad luck). i paid $499 for a 30 gig device, which just a few years later cost half as much for twice the memory, a much better interface and many more features (including video).

    i can wait… especially if at&t’s exclusivity deal is for 5 years.

  25. If you go to and click on wireless then store locater there is a link to which stores have the iphones with the store hrs and phone number to call, also they are selling online thru apple stores.

  26. If you go to and click on wireless then store locater there is a link to which stores have the iphones with the store hrs and phone number to call, also they are selling online thru apple stores.

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