n 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, I lined up, like thousands of others, in the wee hours of the morning to purchase an Apple iPhone. Each year's story is somewhat similar: Get up early, go to Apple store, wait in line for hours, buy phone, go home.
In 2007, the iPhone went on sale at 6PM local time. I was home with the new device by 7:30. I had waited in line for several hours before the Apple store opened. I would say that there were no more than about 50 people clamoring for the device that year on launch day. With the first iPhone, the phone was purchased in the store, and then taken home to be activated via iTunes on your PC. I didn't have any problems activating my first iPhone, but some people did.
In 2008, the iPhone went on sale at 8AM local time. This was the year AT&T had terrible, terrible activation problems. iPhones were being activated in the stores for the first few hours devices were for sale, but eventually, Apple stores gave up and sent people home with unactivated phones. Once I got home--at 1PM--I spent about three more hours trying to activate the phone. Others had it far worse than me, waiting all weekend to get their iPhones activated. That year kind of sucked.
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In 2009, the process was much improved. I got in line around 6:30AM at my local mall, and, since I didn't really have a good spot in line, I didn't walk out with the iPhone 3GS until about 11:15. I would have waited less had I gotten up earlier, I suppose. Activating was not a problem.
In 2010, Apple allowed people to preorder their iPhones for in-store pickup. They also let people select launch day delivery. I opted for the former. I was in line by 5AM, but I was standing at least 100 people from the front door. For the first several hours, I worried.More