30 Days of iPhone – Prelude – “My iPhone Adventure”

iphone-ctia.jpgSo, today was going to be “Day One” of the 30 Days of iPhone review series, but I thought a prelude explaining the weekend in detail might be a better start, since it will also serve as a first impressions review. Here we go…

The Line

Things started off well enough. I arrived at the At&t store about 9:15 or so, and there was only one other person there in line. This At&t store had seemingly been forgotten by most other people, as they were all standing in line at another store down the street. So Brad (the first guy in line) and I talked all things Apple and tech for a while, before anyone else showed up. It looked like we were going to be the only ones there for a while, but as the day quickly moved on, the line began to grow, eventually stretching around the building and into the parking lot.

There were a variety of interesting people there, including a minister, a violinist (who had to play at a wedding at 6:30pm that night) and a guy trying to buy as many iPhones as he could to sell on eBay. All nice people, and it made for an interesting wait. The people at the At&t store were friendly too, even bringing us water…of course, they also tried to sell us At&t home phone/cable/internet service…but you had to expect that.

6 o’clock rolled around, and they started letting us in. I bought my iPhone, which At&t was not allowed to open or touch…they weren’t even allowed to take the plastic off the box. They had some trouble with their system, but everything was taken care of quick enough. They had to put the iPhone in an At&t bag, then seal it, before I could leave the store with it…and they also had to go over some policies. One in particular was that if I wanted to “return” it there would be 10% restocking fee. (that’ll be important in a moment).

So, I walked out of the At&t store a happy man.

Then I got home.

The Problem

When I first opened the box, everything looked fine. I turned on the iPhone, and the colors on the main screen looked…ok…but something didn’t seem quite right. I connected the iPhone to my Macbook Pro and very quickly went through the activation process. I had no problems what-so-ever with the initial activation.

After the iPhone was up and running I put a few songs and some video on it, so I could get it ready to review. That’s when I noticed something wasn’t right.

While I was getting my WEP key info my wife commented that the camera on it was terrible, but I didn’t see what she was looking at. After I loaded up an episode of “The Office” it became clear…something was wrong with this thing.

The video looked like it was displaying 256 colors. It looked like an old CGA monitor or a highly compressed Gif. It was terrible. So I got on the phone with Apple Care. 3 hour later…it still didn’t work. While I was on hold with Apple…which was at least an hour of that 3 hours when you added it all up…I called the mobile number of the At&t rep. She told me that there were more 8 gigs coming in at 8 am and she would call me in the morning so I could get a replacement. I was happy with that, and went to sleep only slightly disappointed with the day.

The next morning I get up and there has been no call from the At&t sales rep. So I head to the At&t store, where this sarcastic little punk with a cocky smile and attitude greats me at the door. I explain to him what is wrong with the iPhone, and show him the video issue. He looks at it, chuckles to himself, and says “yeah there’s something wrong with it, but you know we’re going to charge you $60 bucks to restock it…”

I don’t know if it was the fact that At&t wanted to charge me $60 so they could take back a piece of defective merchandise they sold me, or the fact that this little jerk thought it was funny, but the politeness in my voice and the smile on my face was quickly replaced with “No you’re not, you sold me a piece of defective merchandise, and there is absolutely no way I’m going to pay you to take it back.”

His smile and chuckle left his face, and he turned around to get a manager. Then a woman sitting at a desk across the room yelled over, “We can’t replace it without charging the restocking fee.” So I went over to talk to her. She continued, “Who was your sales person?” she asked, “Didn’t she tell you there would be a 10% restocking fee to return it?”

I explained to her that no one said anything about not being able to exchange a defective phone to the store where I bought it. Now, I could go on a rant here about the difference between exchanging a defective piece of merchandise, and returning an unwanted item – but I’ll skip it. The bottom line to you, dear reader, is that you know that if you buy an iPhone from an At&t store, that location is merely a place for you to pick one up. You can’t get any help regarding the iPhone from At&t…it’s all Apple.

The Solution

So, I went home and called Apple. While on hold with Apple Care (about 30 minutes into holding) I decided to call my closest Apple store (a four hour round trip drive from my house), and see if they could help me. They told me they would exchange the iPhone that day if I could come to the store, and that they had plenty of 8gigs in stock.

So the wife and I hoped into the car and headed for the Apple Store.

The funny part is that everything except the video worked fine on the iPhone. So I used the maps to plot our trip to the Apple Store. I used Safari to blog about the days events here on the site, and I used the text messenging to keep some friends updated with what was going on.

I was very pleased with how easy all of those features were to use, and how quickly everything worked on the EDGE network that everyone has been complaining is almost unusable. It worked just fine for me, so fine, in fact, that I had no problem casually surfing the web in the car to find restaurants for dinner that evening.

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We arrived at the Apple Store, having tested all of the non video related features of the iPhone. We showed the defective device to an Apple Genius, and were out of there with a new fully functioning iPhone in less than half an hour. I took my Macbook Pro in to test everything out, and was able to sync it there in the store to watch the video and test out the new iPhone before leaving.

The iPhone

So, things turned out well. I now have a new iPhone, and it works amazingly well. What amazed me the most (but probably shouldn’t have) is that it works exactly as advertised. The phone does everything the commercials suggest it can do, and I have no complaints about the device other than the lack of certain features that are common on all phones, and the lack of flash, java, and even some quicktime support in Safari.

I was able to view Quicktime trailers in Safari from Apple’s official site, but not from Revver, which I found disappointing…and of course, the lack of Flash and Java support in Safari is a bummer…BUT…this is the most amazing web experience that you can have on a mobile device like this, and I’m very happy to have it.

I also want more customization. I want to customize ringtones, cusomize which icons are on my home screen, and dammit, I want iChat. Most of these things will be fixed or added with time, though.

As it stands right now, I am extremely impressed with the iPhone. I must admit, though, that I still have “new gadget fever”. Which is exactly why I will be writing about the iPhone everyday for the next 30 Days. Through the “30 Days” series of posts, I should cover every aspect of the iPhone in day-to-day use, so you can get an idea of what it’s like to have one as it the “fever” dies down, and it becomes just another device.

Will it be worth the price?

Right now, I think it will for sure…but we’ll see in 30 Days.

Comments

  1. Rick O'Neil says:

    I’m glad you got your situation resolved, I felt really bad for you friday night as I was reading about your misfortune via my functional iPhone.

    here’s how my day went…

    Got in line about 4:00, I was the 10th in line along with a friend of mine.
    Met a really cool guy from VA beach who had some kind of clunky stylis operated smart phone, that he couldn’t wait to smash. There was a photographer from the local paper and a reporter from the same. The reporter ask if he could interview me and so after our little conversation this is the first part of a story that ran on the front page the next morning.
    ___________________________________
    Lynchburg consumers say hello to iPhone

    By Chris Dumond
    [email protected]
    June 29, 2007

    Rick O’Neil may be the most talented magician in Lynchburg. Friday evening, he turned a 1988 Nissan into a coveted Apple iPhone.

    O’Neil was one of about 25 who showed up early to the AT&T store at 120 Simons Run off Wards Road for the 6 p.m. rollout of one of the most hyped products of the past decade, Apple’s combination PDA, camera, iPod and mobile phone.

    A self-described “Apple fanboy,” O’Neil, 30, said he made up his mind in January to buy the phone. Justifying the $599 price tag for the 8-gigabyte model was no problem.

    “I had an ’88 Nissan sitting in my driveway for three years. I said, ‘Hey, if I can sell the Nissan, I can buy an iPhone,’” he said.

    __________________________________

    So far I’ve had a great experience with the phone, absolutely no complaints. It’s everything I hoped it would be and everything Apple said it would be.

  2. The Wizard says:

    Congratulations Michael on the launch of your 30 days interesting journey with the iPhone. Today’s post was more than excellent.

    Now I have something amusing to read for the next 30 days. Thanks Michael and keep up the excellent work.

  3. Brad Brown says:

    Hey Michael, I meant to tell you. The lady who was trying to get her friends in line in front of us right at 5:55 PM was representing Ladainian Tomlinson (Waco man who plays for the San Diego Chargers). Just thought that was funny, and kudos to the store manager for telling them to get in line with everyone else!

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