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That Crazy iPhone!

June 17, 2010 - Phyllis Sigal

Well, I missed my chance to pre-order the newest iPhone, the iPhone4, with all kinds of improvements.

 And actually, it hadn't really occurred to me to even get a new one, until my daughter Amanda told me that Radio Shack was offering a trade-in on the old ones. That would make the new one about half-price.

So why not, I thought. It has a better camera — a front-facing camera. Better screen resolution. A video camera. And, "face time," which means that my kids and I can talk, and I can see them while we converse! That's worth its weight in gold right there!

Longer battery life. A new design. (Which means I'll need a new case.) HD video recording. And much more.

Not being the iPhone fanatic as some are (i.e. my son Leland), I wasn't in a big rush to check out the deal at Radio Shack.

Little did I know that the pre-order process started at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

And ended a mere 16 minutes later. 16 minutes!

Nationwide, Radio Shack stores took pre-orders for 10,000 of these hot little devices. In 16 minutes. The Radio Shack in Wheeling got two pre-orders in before they were sold-out company-wide.

And according to an AT&T guy I ran into at Radio Shack on Wednesday (about 21 hours too late to pre-order), they could've used another 20,000 ... at least!

Apple sold a whopping 600,000 of the phones on Tuesday — and who knows how many thousands more it could've sold!

AT&T suspended sales due to problems customers encountered when trying to place their orders. Both AT&T's and Apple's websites collapsed because the load was just too much. Thousands of customers were not happy about Tuesday's mess. And, apparently, it appears that the original June 24 delivery date has been postponed.

There are lots of articles online and some funny chatter. Here's one comment I found: "I am PERFECTLY FINE with having to wait a few more days. My 3Gs still works fine. If you absolutely MUST have an iPhone4 on June 24, you need to reevaluate more than just your choice of phone carrier."

I laughed at the hype a few years ago, when I happened to be in Los Angeles on the original iPhone release date of June 29, 2007, and my cousin Diane's son Jason was in line at the crack of dawn to pick up his allotted two iPhones — that at the time cost around $699 each. We went to visit him while he waited in line (for about 12 hours!!!), and watched as proud iPhone owners walked out of the store with their little black bags, to the applause of spectators.

It was sooooooooooo Hollywood! (But, fun!)

If someone had even told me then that I'd be the proud owner of an iPhone, I'd probably have laughed.

I am not a technologically savvy person.  I cannot turn the television on in our basement because of its three remote controls. Which one to use? I certainly don't know. Whenever I push buttons, I get a blue screen. That's it. Just a blue screen that stays there.

So when the iPhones were introduced in June of 2007, I was a bit enamored, but I figured I would, one, have no use for its myriad of functions, and, two, not be able to figure them out, anyway. And besides, no one really calls me that often, anyway. What do I need with such a fancy-schmancy phone?

But on Feb. 20, 2009, I joined the ranks, when my Motorola Krzr — which I really, really, loved — died. (It was birthday, so I treated myself. And besides, I was out of town. If I had no phone, no one could wish me happy birthday! People do call me on my birthday.)

And now, I have no idea what I did before I had it. My iPhone and I are joined at the hip.

I love being able to check my e-mail wherever I am. I listen to music or books when I'm driving or taking a walk or at the gym. I can track my calories, my Weight Watcher points, my miles that I walk. I can play Word Wrap and Labyrinth and Ping Pong. I can make notes during a wine tasting and e-mail them to the other participants. I can take pictures of an item while shopping so that I remember what it looks like.

It's a lighter at a concert. (Yep, there's an app for that!)

And you know those pesky little keychain cards for Blockbuster, CVS, DWS, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Sephora, Hallmark, etc., etc., etc. ... well, you can key those into the CardStar app and have them handy whenever you need them.

I can do yoga to the Yoga Stretch app. I can find my way with Google Maps. Or see what I want to watch on television with the TV Listings app. Every time I turn around, there's a new app that intrigues me. (I've got to get the bubble wrap popper app! .... Done.)

I can't remember the last time I was with a group of people when someone didn't  whip out his or her iPhone to check on something being discussed. 

So, it's June 17. Leland's got his iPhone4 preorder in. Amanda and I are on waiting lists. And Bruce hasn't quite decided yet.

And now, I'm counting the days.



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