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New iPhone: Pretty Much Sold Out Everywhere

Mike Musgrove

Don't count on getting your hands on the new iPhone 3G today.

News service Bloomberg is reporting that only three of 188 Apple Stores -- in California, New York and New Hampshire -- have phones available to sell today. One analyst has predicted that the shortage will last well into August.

On Friday, I dropped by Montgomery Mall and talked to some folks at the head of the line outside the Apple Store there who had been waiting four hours to get the new iPhone (the AT&T store at the mall was sold out). But that's nothing: On Thursday, a friend of mine waited in line for eight hours at the Tysons Corner Apple Store to get an iPhone for himself and his wife.

Anybody got their hands on the iPhone 3G and want to talk about it? (Was it worth the wait...?) Or, has anybody out there tried out any of the new iPhone applications and feel like praising or panning any? Pandora and Sega's Super Monkey Ball game for the iPhone have been getting a lot of my attention...

By Mike Musgrove  |  July 21, 2008; 11:42 AM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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I got my hands on one - was number 25 in line at the Mall of America on July 11th - glad I got up early to be in line by 6:00 a.m. - not a long wait - but I'd hate to be waiting for one now - I love my phone.

Posted by: Mike M. | July 21, 2008 12:19 PM

The early bird gets the iworm.

Posted by: DM | July 21, 2008 12:45 PM

I too got my hands on one here in Minneapolis at the Rosedale Mall. I waited for about 4 hours and got one. I was about the 150th person in line. The wait was worth in my opinion but I'm a gadget lover so I'm probably biased. Either way, once you get used to using an iPhone and pick up anything else, including a Blackberry, you begin to understand the genius of it. Also, I think the software 2.0 release improves the phone more than just the 3G/GPS.

Posted by: Mike L | July 21, 2008 12:49 PM

I waited in line on Thursday at the Kenwood Towne Center Mall for almost four hours to get an iPhone. The phone is great and has been an absolutely wonderful experience, but my purchase experience was far from it. They had recieved a large shipment of phones that day and only had TWO apple employees doing the buying and activation process, it was ridiculous. Only to add to that frustration was the fact that the guy who I got had NEVER done the process before! It took almost 45 minutes to get through it, there is no way apple employees should be expected to complete this process in store, its ludicrous!

Posted by: Matt R | July 21, 2008 12:53 PM

I saw people waiting in line on the 12th but couldn't justify waiting 3 or 4 hours.
I walked right into my local Apple store on the 18th and got one. It took about 10 minutes.

I love the phone since I used to have a Razr before that. Like most smartphones, the battery life isn't great. That is really my only complaint.

Posted by: Steve | July 21, 2008 1:24 PM

My husband waited in line for 2 hours at the Apple Store in Palo Alto on Tuesday the 15th and I got the second to the last phone. My process was very quick and I was out of the store in 15 minutes. I love my phone and have loaded a few apps with Pandora being one. I wouldn't have waited in line but I'm glad I have a good husband who would on his day off just cause he knew how bad I wanted a phone. :o)

Posted by: Jenng | July 21, 2008 1:33 PM

I consider myself lucky. July 11, the day the iPhone 3G first came out I arrived at one At&t store at 8:30 (30 minutes after they opened) only to find myself 30 people back in line and all wanting to buy one of the remaining 3 iphones. Needless to say, I didn't get one there.

While driving back home, I decided to check out the mall AT&T store close to my house and found myself fifth in line (at 10 am, 2 hours after they opened the store). The worker that was entertaining questions for people in line told me that I was the second one in line that probably will not get one. However, he also told me that I could wait just in case.... so I did.

After waiting a total of 45 minutes, I ended up with a 16 gb white iPhone.

Posted by: Chris Gargasz | July 21, 2008 1:36 PM

Apple's Web site provides iPhone availability info each night after 9 PM. On Friday, it showed the Montgomery Mall Apple store would have all three versions of the phone available. I schlepped out by Metro (takes nearly an hour from my place) only to be told they had none. They said they MAY be getting some in a shipment arriving at noon (it was 9:30 AM at the time) but couldn't guarantee any would be in the delivery.

I ended up pre-ordering a 16-gig black at the Friendship Heights AT&T store. Ten to 21 working days is what they say the wait time will be. At least it's easier than playing lottery with the Apple stores and wasting time in line.

Posted by: Kemosabe | July 21, 2008 1:37 PM

I got one ( 16GB white )at a AT&T store here in Albuquerque on July 11th. I got to the store at 7:30 AM and only had 6 people in front of me. I only had to wait 30 minutes. They opened at 8:00 AM and I went right in and got my shiny new iPhone 3G. I love it. So great. No words can describe how cool. I had a 1st generation iPhone that I sold on eBay in May while the prices were still up. The app store is fantastic !! Audio quality is greatly improved on the 3G network and data faster. Streaming audio and video works great on the fast 3G network too. Love it !!

Posted by: Gary | July 21, 2008 1:39 PM

My wait at the Rosedale Mall near Minneapolis was about 4 hours on July 11th. I bought a 16GB white phone. The next day I went back to surprise my wife with an iPhone. The wait was less than two hours and I got the second to the last 8GB model (so said the apple sore clerk). I had more issues with activation for my wife's phone than mine. I wish that the activation process had gone better, but overall I am very happy I decided to get two ASAP.

Posted by: Mick | July 21, 2008 1:51 PM

I waited in line on release day and I think it was well worth the wait. The activation process was a pain but from about 4:00 on the 11th until now I have been completely satisfied with this phone. I was #5 in line on that Friday and it took 4 hours to get the phone out of the store and then another 5 to get it working. I still have no regrets. I have played with several apps but I will talk about that later. When you get the chance I say get in line and wait. You won't regret it.

Posted by: C. Calfee | July 21, 2008 1:58 PM

I waited in line on release day and I think it was well worth the wait. The activation process was a pain but from about 4:00 on the 11th until now I have been completely satisfied with this phone. I was #5 in line on that Friday and it took 4 hours to get the phone out of the store and then another 5 to get it working. I still have no regrets. I have played with several apps but I will talk about that later. When you get the chance I say get in line and wait. You won't regret it.
THIS WAS WRITTEN ON MY iPHONE!

Posted by: C. Calfee | July 21, 2008 1:59 PM

It was worth it.

Despite all they hype and all my tech friends having one.....it completely exceeds all my expectations.

The core things - mail, browser, phone are so eloquently implemented that it's flooring.

With Apple opening up the platform it will literally be years before any other makers are even close to the current iPhone 3G

Google's Android will be interesting, but it will be hard to compete with this shockingly powerful integrated plateform.

Posted by: Brendan Patterson | July 21, 2008 2:07 PM

Incredible. What other phone manufacturer has had this sort of experience with a new phone model?

Posted by: rft | July 21, 2008 2:11 PM

I went and got one last Saturday at the Apple store in Bethesda. At the time, I thought my three-hour wait was silly (I have the original iPhone as well), but I'm glad I did wait.

You're correct...Pandora is really popular, and it should be. It rocks on the iPhone...you barely have to wait for a new song to pop up over the 3g network or wifi...it does work on the 2g Edge network, but that can be a little laggy. Amazing service, though. On a side note, Last.fm has an app as well...it's what you would expect, but the load times are way long, so maybe they'll fix that with an update. AOL radio is crap for the most part. The cool AOL internet streams don't work unless you are hooked into wifi, and the only stations that work over 3g are a bunch of horrible CBS terrestrial stations that they try to tell you are "local" stations. With a service like Pandora, that's pretty much a joke.

The Google App surprised me! I didn't see it right away, but the cool thing it does is integrates the info stored in your phone (contacts, etc) into your search from the application, then gives you suggestions as you type. Pretty cool.

The best game is this thing called Motion X Poker...it's five bucks, cheaper than Monkey Ball, and probably way more fun. It's a dice game where the goal is to get a poker hand. It's so addictive to shake your phone to roll the dice! It even has great dice sound effects and the phone vibrates.

There's another game called Vector Pong that is maybe $2 and worth it. It's a 3-D version of pong that utilizes the accelerometer thingie very well. You have to tilt your phone around to control your little paddle to whack a blue-pink neon ball around in a cube that looks very Tron-like. Ha!

Posted by: Timothy | July 21, 2008 2:20 PM

I got mine via direct fulfillment at
the ATT store on Connecticut Ave, Downtown DC, and got it 5 days later with no lines
to wait on.

Posted by: Caramba | July 21, 2008 2:22 PM

I waited on the 11th at a NYC Apple store and after about 7 hours finally got my iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple servers were all buggered up so it could not be activated. I tried throughout the night on the 11th and all day the 12th to no avail. Just an iBrick. Finally, on Sunday I thought I had it but again error screens galore and no service (by this point I was VERY happy I hadnt cancelled my TMob service/phone yet). On Monday, still bricked. I went back to the original Apple store which was still slogged with customers and long lines. Ultimately (2.5 hour wait), I got an agent who tried his best to help (he was very polite) but again he could not get it activated. So he sent me to another of Apple's stores so I brought my iBrick there. More waiting (2h). It was now Monday evening and I got an agent who also had no success activating it. He believed it was an ATT issue so sent me packing to an ATT store. Tuesday morning, now at ATT store. Account seemed fine, but they could also not get past the error screen and brickness that was my iPhone. The woman there now felt that it was a "bad" iPhone. So she put a call into (you guessed it) the Apple store and back I went. I had now come full circle. Thankfully everyone felt my pain and was very polite. Anywho, after fiddling with the laptops and PCs whilst I waited for another 2.5h, they dug out a new unit and opened it up. Cracked screen. They opened #3 and got it mostly set up but I was sent home to complete activation at home. It was now late Tuesday night and I was thoroughly wiped out from all the running around the last 5 days. I left fate for Wednesday. Feeling motivated and lucky, I awoke Wednesday with grandeur plans of an activated iPhone. But it was not to be, I got the error messages again, and alas, another (albeit white) iBrick. I picked up my BB and it was, as always, working flawlessly. I decided to accept defeat. I packed up all my iBrick stuff and returned to the Apple store where I just pushed it across the counter (I went straight up to the front as I was not ABOUT to wait again!) and asked for a complete refund. They accomodated politely. They couldnt, however, give me back an average of 5h/day for 5.5 days (30h) that I spent trying to just use the darn thing. So it was not to be. Kinda' weird too, I have mac mini, iPod, and AppleTV and have never had a single problem.

Posted by: C. Eldridge | July 21, 2008 2:26 PM

I lucked out and called an apple store by my house in MA on Friday night. just walked in and got one. NO LINE!

Posted by: J | July 21, 2008 2:27 PM

So I just want to know why Steve "The Apple God" Jobs could not forsee the demand being so ridicualus for this phone. Even more so why not allow people to purchase this phone online through apples website or AT&T's website? limit 2 per customer or something but man. waiting in line sucks. and now there gonna be sold out till august... Really Steve you couldnt shipp a couple million extra? or do you have then in a wherehouse just sitting around. Not FUNNY MAN

Posted by: CLOS | July 21, 2008 2:34 PM

I called a lot of AT&T and Apple stores in the Seattle area last Monday, but none had the phone. The next day I went to the store closest to my work and asked them when they anticipated receiving a fresh supply, and they said they did not know, but I could pre-order it (there is a term for this that I am forgetting, sorry!), so I did. I have been waiting for almost a week now, and I'm patient, so I just hope it comes sooner than they're saying--mid-August would suck!

Posted by: Jon | July 21, 2008 2:35 PM

If one doesn't need the 3g speed then it makes sense to wait for next year's model. This will allow the 1st gen iPhone user to get a subsidized price on the 3rd gen phone.

The 3g iPhone is arguably a minor incremental update in hardware. The 2.0 software is a huge upgrade for 1st gen users and, with a little patience, will pay off next year with a subsidized price.

Regards,

Heath

P.S. Turn by turn navigation and I'd be in line for the 3g version in a heartbeat. For now the 1st gen is still great.

Posted by: heathsnow | July 21, 2008 4:18 PM

Knowing it would be impossible to have a new IPhone at one of the locations in the Metropolitan Washington - MD - VA locations on the first day the phone was issued I drove to a small town in upstate New York (where English is still spoken correctly and predominantly). Fortunately I opted to wait at an ATT store rather than going to the Apple store in Albany.

By 5AM I was number six in line. A local teenager had arrived at 3AM to be first. So the six of us were the first to enter the store. The staff was very well prepared for the new business, but we could not understand why the ATT computers would not recognize Florida as a possible location for establishing a new phone number. That resulted in a long delay and I finally opted for a Washington number.

Now I have to find some therapist who can help me resist the urge to constantly touch the new phone. Days later I still have not used it as a telephone and am so delighted by the way it handles my gmail account for email.

Posted by: Starda Vanyra | July 22, 2008 1:24 AM

I drove to the Towson,MD Apple store twice in one day-an hour drive each way for me. The Apple web site said that there would be a shipment in the night before. When I arrived at 10am the first time, they said they didn't have any and didn't know if they were going to get any that day. I went home and called the store at 1:30pm. They said they had some and it was a large amount but they couldn't promise me anything. So I again took the hour drive to Towson(from near Gettyburg, PA.) Arriving at the end of a small line of about 20-30 people at 3 pm, I waited 2 1/2 hrs to get my black 16gig which I absolutely love!! I am a die-hard Apple fan so to me, it is perfect. I never really got into texting videos so it is no loss to me. I also have a hard time putting it down so I am constantly charging it-make sure you get a car charger!! This is the only thing bad about it to me.

Posted by: Michelle Fuhrman | July 22, 2008 10:38 AM

I managed to get it after a preorder. It's exactly what it claims, and feels much better to hold. I recommend it to anyone who wants a simple and easy to use interface.

I got the white 16 gigabyte model.

Posted by: Miles | July 22, 2008 12:36 PM

Following an AT&T rep's advice, I decided not to brave the crowds on the 11th. He assured me stock would not be an issue and I should just wait a few days to avoid lines. Big mistake.After the 11th, I couldn't get a phone. After chasing the phone at Apple stores and my local N. VA AT & T store for days, I was finally given the option of ordering the phone through direct fullfillment- an option I had previously been told was not available- on more than one occasion. I ordered the phone on the 15th and was told it would take about 21 days. I would have gladly waited in line on the 11th- this has been a royal pain.

Posted by: Over it | July 22, 2008 3:28 PM

He, he i love my Iphone but i would NEVER, EVER wait in line for some piece of electronic. Like with everything else i just wait a month and walk in like a human and be done in 10 minutes.

Posted by: Amir | July 22, 2008 9:22 PM


Are you guys sure you are reading Apple's "Availability Page" correctly?

To me... it looks more like this is what is happening:

We get a new shipment in on Monday, but all
300 phones are gone by 9pm (so that's what the web-site says).

We another new shipment in on Tuesday, but all
200 phones are gone by 9pm (so that's what the web-site says).

We a new shipment in on Wednesday, but all
400 phones are gone by 9pm (so that's what the web-site says).

Etc....

So is that really "a shortage" or a "sold out" item?
Sounds to me like that's just "normal" instead.

To me "sold out" would instead be: "We are out... and *NEVER* get any more phones."

Posted by: Jill | July 23, 2008 7:17 PM

I only waited 2 hours at the 5th ave. apple store in New York on opening day. Just went at 3:30pm. LOVE MY IPHONE.

Posted by: nobu | July 24, 2008 11:42 PM

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