Yesterday, after reading your dozens of articulate comments on the merits of BlackBerry vs. iPhone–and after fondling some representative samples at the office–I decided to end a 12-year love affair with BlackBerry and buy an iPhone.
Because the iPhone’s main deficiency vs. the BlackBerry–crappy email–seemed to be offset by its awesome advantages. If AT&T had carried the BlackBerry Tour, which I tried just before heading off to the store, I might have stayed married. But only Verizon carries the Tour right now, and I have an AT&T family plan.
I went to the AT&T store on 14th Street. The bulky BlackBerry Bold, I noticed, was still priced at $299, which seemed ridiculous relative to the $199 I was going to pay for my 3GS iPhone. I played with the demo iPhone and decided that I had made the right decision: Email was much less important now that web-browsing was a joy. I stepped up to the counter and asked for an iPhone.
“It’s back-ordered,” the kind woman said.
The AT&T store could get me an iPhone in seven or eight days. I held up my dead Curve, indicating my predicament. The kind woman sent me hoofing over to the Apple Store in the meatpacking district.
Confession: I had never been in an Apple store before.
Revelation: It really is like entering another world.
One confusing thing was that there was a line of people in the corner, under the celestial stairway, seemingly waiting for nothing. I asked the guy at the head of the line what he was waiting for.
“An iPhone,” he said.
And how long had he been waiting?
“Two hours,” he said.
I marveled again, as I had the day the 3GS launched, that people would wait in line for hours for iPhones. Then I noticed something: The revelation that I might have to wait in line for hours for an iPhone hadn’t immediately sent me charging back to the AT&T store for a new Curve. I won’t say that having to wait made me want an iPhone even more, but it didn’t make me change my decision. And given my aversion to lines, that’s something.
A girl wandered over. She was wearing an orange shirt with a sign hanging around her neck that said “Concierge.” (Concierge!) I asked her why it took two hours to get an iPhone.
“Because we have to activate them by logging into AT&T’s computers and that takes forever.”
“Is the line always two hours?”
“No, if you can get here when we open at nine, it will only be five minutes long.”
I went home, unconnected, and spent the evening reading a magazine. For the first time in years.
This morning, I went to the big Apple store–the one on Fifth Avenue, inside the I.M. Pei-style cube. I descended the celestial stairway and looked for the line. There wasn’t one. I found a Concierge and told him I wanted an iPhone. He told me to stand right there, at the head of the non-existent line, and wait for an Apple representative.
While I waited, I chatted with the Concierge, doing research:
- There is usually a line in the Fifth Avenue store for iPhones, but in recent days it has finally subsided (they’re finally catching up with demand).
- About half of people buy the 3GS and half buy the regular old 3G.
- About half of people who buy the 3GS pony up for the 32G’s of storage, which costs an extra $100.
My Apple representative, Catherine, arrived. She introduced herself, shook my hand, and led me to the table of perfectly arranged iPhones.
“White or black?” she said.
“16 gigs or 32 gigs?”
“16 gigs,” I said.
“I have 16 gigs,” Catherine said, with a smile.
Catherine selected the box, got out her handheld, interfaced with AT&T’s computers, and activated the iPhone. Then she slipped it out of its box, plugged it into a MacBook Pro, and handed it to me.
“It’s activated,” she said. “You can use it on the way home.”
“The battery’s charged?”
“About 70 per cent,” Catherine said. “It should get you through the rest of the day.”
And so it has.
Setting up the email has been a bit of a pain, but, so far, everything else is a dream.
It’s nice here in Apple world.
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