Party for some, nightmare for others as heavy traffic at stores and on Internet software download centers
By Jeffrey Jolson Hollywood Today
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RUSHPRNEWS) 7/13/08 – There were fireworks and long lines from California and New York to Tokyo and London for the introduction of the new iPhone 3G, the new beefed-up version of the popular cell phone from Apple.
The fireworks sputtered for many customers, some of which had been waiting in line three days or more to be first to get the hot gadget at lowered prices than the last iPhone release, – $199 and $299 this time, depending on memory amount.
Some stores were in short supply and those that could get a unit were not always able to register their phones and hook them up with the local cell phone companies.
Apple’s servers on Friday reached their breaking point as people in the United States and 21 other countries rushed to stores to buy and activate their new iPhones or tried to update older models with the latest firmware.
People waiting in line at stores reported very slow progress in getting their hands on Apple’s media player-smartphone hybrid. Others trying to update older models with the latest 2.0 firmware, the same operating system powering the new gadgets, according to Information Week, fared even worse, since incomplete downloads of the software left their iPhones unusable.
A suddenly unusable phone is a real nightmare for business and heavy cell users, one of which told Hollywood Today they thought it was a ploy to get them to upgrade to the new phone. Apparently it will be fixed soon and they will be able to use their older iPhones phones again, though we had as much trouble getting through to Apple press department as iPhone users had getting through to registration and software centers.
Internet overload had hundreds of fans outside Apple’s Store on Regent Street in London waiting to be connected. The problem was also experienced by O2, Apple’s exclusive partner in the UK.
New York had similar tech difficulties. Much of the blame has been put on the sheer volume of activity surrounding the launch on the web. There were around 70 gathered outside the AT&T store in the Big Apple where it took half an hour for staff to get the impatient customers iPhones up and running.
Auckland, New Zealandwas the first to offer the iPhone, according to web reports, and opened a few minutes after midnight Friday morning, where 22 year-old Jonny Gladwell, pictured, who had camped outside the Vodafone store for a staggering 55 hours, was officially the first new owner of the iPhone 3G.
Another super 3G iTard, 24-year-old Luke Soules, flew all the way from San Luis Obispo, California, to Auckland to line up and purchase one of first 3G iPhones.
The glitch was apparently related to downloading software like iTunes.
In Silicon Valley, California, where many of the Apple parts had their seed, saw Apple co-founder himself in line to buy two of the iPhones, one black, one white. “I can never decide what color I want, Wozniak said.
Whether stunt or not didn’t matter, he joined in the festive atmosphere as the countdown to sales relese began at the Apple Store. “I could get someone to do this for me,” he said while waiting in line. “But, it’s fun. We are all here – Macintosh enthusiasts.” The lines of those who want to get their hands on the latest version of what the faithful call the “Jesus phone” started early in places like Tokyo, where some buyers had waited in lines around a city block and happily counted down the final 30 seconds before stores opened.
But it was 40-year-old Mitch McHone who bought the first iPhone here, and was first to “walk the line” as he called it, through the gauntlet of employees who gave high-fives to customers entering the store. As each one left the store, they received a rousing applause.
“I want to be the first person to have a 3G iPhone,” said McHone, “I’ve been up 27 hours, no shower,” said McHone. “I’m very happy. It was worth the wait,” he said.
Wozniak, bearing doughnuts, had come to imbibe in the Apple culture.
This morning at the flagship Apple store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, a line of hundreds encircled the block ahead of the opening. Many of them were already owners of the first iPhone, suggesting that Apple is preaching to the choir with the new model, which updates the one launched a year ago by speeding up Internet access and adding a navigation chip.
Alex Cavallo, 24, was in line at the Fifth Avenue store, just as he had been a year ago for the original iPhone. He sold that one recently on eBay in anticipation of the new one. In the meantime, he has been using another phone, which felt “uncomfortable.”
“The iPhone is just a superior user experience,” he said. The phone also proved a decent investment for him: He bought the old model for $599 and sold it for $570.
Outside an AT&T store in Atlanta, more than hundred people had lined up.
Edward Watkins, a 34-year-old engineer and avowed “techno nut,” said he didn’t mind paying an extra $10 a month to the carrier to upgrade his phone, according to AP.
“I’d pay an extra $30 or $40 a month for that. It’s a smoother running phone. It’s driving a Beamer as opposed to a Chevy Metro.”
“Fashion used to go down the runways. Today, it comes out of the design labs of consumer electronics companies,” said veteran valley forecaster Paul Saffo. “And Apple is the Ralph Lauren of cellular fashion.”
Even analysts, whose role is to pick apart tech companies and their products, get caught up in Apple’s sway.
“Apple is the supreme puppet-master of the electronics age,” said Ken Dulaney, an analyst with Gartner, a research firm. “They are able to orchestrate these important events. They are almost like rock concerts.”
For Apple, the 3G iPhone is less about zeitgeist than big business. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates Apple will sell nearly 13 million iPhones this year – the company says its goal is 10 million – and 45 million next year.
Apple works as hard to polish its products as it does its image, observed Steven Addis, chief executive of Addis Creson, a brand strategy and design firm in Berkeley.