Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Iphone4 and AT&T Shortages

Ok, I admit it, I was in line around 6AM to upgrade my iphone. There were already about 40 people in line in front of me. Some had camped out since 11PM. I did not. I figured, I could get an early start to my day, and get some work done while I "waited." Many were just standing in line for the iphone, I just chose to work from the line. Regardless, I stayed in the line for a while.

Local AT&T store staff came out and offered people in line water. I thought it was a kind gesture, and I took a bottle. As I approached the front of the line, the representatives informed folks that they had run out of 32GB models of the new iphone, and that they only had limited quantities of the 16GB model. The guy in front of me asked if AT&T had a 30 day return period. He was informed that there was a $20 restocking fee for the return if he bought a 16GB version and decided to get a 32GB version when they arrived. The employee also stated that there was no guarantee that any 32GB models would arrive in the store during the next 30 days.

At the same time this shortage was announced, employees were taking "pre-orders" for 32GB phones that would be delivered in 5-10 days. So AT&T offered instant gratification of a 16GB phone (also in short supply, but apparently another order of 16GB phones were set to arrive later in the day), or a 5-10 day wait for a 32GB phone.

As I stood in line, I thought, "Neither one of these sounds appetizing to me right now." And then I thought, "why didn't they let the 40 people who were in line behind me know that they might not get their phones today?" The guy behind me told me he was already late for work, and was concerned that he would now not only be late, but he would show up with nothing but a voucher for a future purchase. Needless to say he was less than enthused by his wait.

He and others looked at me in shock when I left the line. How could I leave after waiting for this phone. I could leave because I have a phone that works. I could leave because, I hadn't felt the "sunk cost" of time waiting in line for the product because I just worked while in line. I could leave because I will be on the road over the next 5-10 days, and so I won't be able to claim my phone upon its arrival anyway.

Regardless, I have an iphone that was gifted to me, and I can download the iphone4 software on this phone and experience much of the same advances on a slower processor and an older phone. Also, since this phone was a gift, I'm not locked into a contract.

Are you an iphone user? Did you wait in line this morning? If you did wait in line, how do you like your new phone? One advanced feature that I think is pretty cool is the webcam that is built into the center of the screen--I imagine that feature will be seen on the next iteration of the iPad too.

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