Nice to know Gruber is helping out Grand Rapids.
Posts tagged “michigan”.
I had to drive to Ann Arbor, about a half-hour away, to grab my iPhone. But now Jackson will have them, along with a few Macs, at our Best Buy retail location. I might just have to make a trek to the mail and check it out.
It’s 9:20 a.m., and a few people have trickled out of the Briarwood Mall Apple Store with the sleek, white iPhone 3G bags in-hand. One guy stopped to see a buddy in line, and compared his new iPhone with his friend’s “old” iPhone.
I talked with a lady from Ann Arbor who has been a Mac person since the days of the beige G3. “I don’t know why everyone’s not a Mac person,” she said, and it’s hard to argue with that. She had made fewer decisions than I had: no phone choice, no AT&T plan choice, not even the color concerned her. “I have a whole half-hour or so to think about it,” she said. You can’t help admire that kind of live-for-the-moment philosophy.
The store is letting in groups of about six or seven at a time, and where I’m standing, near the end of the line, we probably have another hour to go. There are at least several hundred people here. The line doesn’t seem to be growing much, either: whoever wanted an iPhone 3G this bad is already here and waiting. The Detroit Free press claims Apple can handle 100 customers an hour, which seems about right.
Our group is surely a curiosity to the walkers in the mall. “Kids these days,” they must be thinking, but truthfully all ages are represented here. Apple is an egalitarian company.
We’re almost to the amusement-park-style stanchions, which shows we’re “almost there,” whatever that means.
Arrived just before 8 a.m. this morning. Walked into the mall (it opens at 5 a.m. for walkers, I found out) to the sound of clapping and cheering. The festivities had begun.
The Apple employees were outside the store, pumping up the crowd, and handing out coffee and water to anxious waiters. I followed the line past Rogers & Hollands and down to JC Penny, where the familiar sculpture stood, and took my place at the end of the line next to a guy in a Joker/”Dark Knight” shirt.
“I hope they don’t run out,” he said. “I drove past the AT&T store and they had, like, five people in line.”
One lady walking the mall, her iPod mini in hand, asked us why we were all waiting in line.
“You know they’re going to have some tomorrow, right?” she said. One guy told her to go away; she was ruining our fun.
Later a security guard on a Segway rolled past, and an Apple staffer came out and asked if anyone had any questions. They have coffee and water stations set up at strategic points along the waiting line – a nice touch, I thought.
Applause echoed through Briarwood as the first customer in line got in the store. A second round of clapping followed after the transaction took place. All together, it took about 10 or 15 minutes, which is what we expected.
“I’m leaving for vacation next week,” the lady behind me said. “I have to get one before I take off. I hope they don’t run out.”
This fit the general feel of the crowd. One guy didn’t expect this kind of line, but I told him it could be worse: last year, when this Briarwood store opened, the line snaked across the entire mall. All that for just a t-shirt.
Incredibly, Briarwood charges for a wifi connection. There were several WEP connections in the area, and the one free wifi connection wasn’t loading. And I’m not about to pay for wifi – not at some mall. Finally some linksys connection opened up. Hence this post.
One thing I forgot to do was transfer money into my account to actually make this purchase. What a fool I was. Luckily I’m on the grid now, so a quick trip to online banking and I’ll be good to go.
What kind of iPhone will I be getting. Despite all the controversy, I like the white one. I matches my iBook and my iPod 30 GB video, and there’s something about the white look that says “Apple.”
This is report number one from the front lines. Hopefully I’ll post again as I get closer (maybe even in the Apple store, on some super-powered Mac Pro).
Over and out from Ann Arbor.
[UPDATE: read my total coverage here.]
Today’s the big day, and this morning I’m heading to Ann Arbor to scope out the scene, hopefully do some live blogging, and grab an iPhone 3G while I’m there.
You can help but wonder what other phone companies think when they see lines like the ones that form for Apple. I imagine some nervous, nail-biting CEO stands up in his meeting and screams, “Why do I pay you people? Why isn’t our demand like that? What are those…those…hippies doing that we can’t do?” It’s easy to feel sorry for them. What else besides rock concerts (before Ticketmaster started taking their brick-and-mortar outlets away) and Black Friday inspires people to get up at the crack of dawn for a phone?
My preparations actually began last night, when I made a list of items needed in case of a long line:
- camera, with USB connector
- iBook and power adapter
- notepad, for documentation
- My current wireless cellphone bill (I’m not an AT&T customer)
- A full iPod
- A book to read
- Snacks and a drink
No Newton, however. One less thing to lug.
The tricky part was wondering whether there would even be a line this morning. Our Ann Arbor Apple Store at Briarwood Mall opened after the iPhone came out, so us Michiganders had to drive to Grand Rapids or Novi to see the spectacle.
The MacRumors forum had a few bees buzzing about being in line, but my search yielded no firm clues. It was a sure-fire risk, and I had to come prepared.
To get a firm date on the time the phone would be available, I called the Briarwood Apple Store, who lists the opening hour as 10 a.m. (probably when the mall itself opens). My call, however, yielded no concrete answers. The message lady said the store was opening at 8 a.m. So would the mall open early? Would just the Apple Store open early? Or would us schmoes have to wait until 10 a.m., at which point our bladders would explode from all the coffee.
Who’s in charge here?
Either way, I planned on leaving my place at about 6:30 or 7 a.m. and drive the 40 minutes to Ann Arbor and see what happens. What could I lose? A spot in line? The human body can only endure so much.
Other questions that plagued me: should I bring a chair? What would happen if some line-stander got sick? Would he or she give up his or her place in line? Would there be wifi available? How about power outlets in case my iBook gets a case of hypoglycemia? What about my own hypoglycemia?
Enough’s enough, I told myself. Watch me just walk up to the mall, open the door, and walk right into the Apple Store at 8 a.m., complete my transaction, and walk out – all within 20 minutes.
If I had done this last year, my mind would have known what to expect. Planning would have been easier. But I chose to wait.
But the wait is over. A quick breakfast, get cleaned up, and off I go. The weather looks decent. It’s going to be a great day.
Check back for updates as the morning goes on!
Looking for loonies like yourself who enjoy low-end technology, outdated PDAs, and a knack for shaking their fist at Apple’s decisions?
Join a Newton User Group!
Chuma.org’s Newton FAQ has a listing of user groups, including where they’re at and their web site.
A few have since disbanded, but groups like Stanford’s (above) are die-hards, and I’m sure would love a visitor (visit their site here). SNUG meets on the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. (right before the iPhone group) at Printer’s Inc. Café (320 S. California Avenue in Palo Alto). Be sure to check out the group’s “gripe list.”
There’s a Michigan State group that’s just a bit north of me. I may check to see if they still meet. If they do, I’ll be sure to report back.
By the way, the Tennessee Valley Newton Users Group (TVNUG) meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5 p.m. Central at the Barnes & Nobel coffee shop, located on University Drive in Huntsville, AL, says George S. Hamilton. The store is closing, however, so stay tuned for the new location.
If you want to do some research, check out Meetup.com’s list of Newton User Group cities.