Tag Archives: applestore

iPhone introduction felt impossible

John Gruber remembers what it was like watching the iPhone announcement:

Apple had amazing product introductions before the iPhone, and it’s had a few good ones after. But the iPhone was the only product introduction I’ve ever experienced that felt impossible. Apple couldn’t have shrunk Mac OS X — a Unix-based workstation OS, including the Cocoa frameworks — to a point where it could run on a cell phone. Scrolling couldn’t be that smooth and fluid. A touchscreen — especially one in a phone — couldn’t be so responsive.

I felt the same way. Even the day I brought the iPhone home, I wasn’t sure that it was actually going to work. I was ready to be unsurprised if it turned out to be unstable — crashing often or overheating. It was stunning how good it was. It absolutely felt like a phone from the future.

One thing I had forgotten about from 10 years ago was the activation process, which was definitely not from the future. It was rooted in the past, connecting to iTunes like an iPod. Here are some of my tweets from that day, showing the long delay between picking up the iPhone from the store and actually using it, plus my last-minute decision to even wait in line:

6:34am: Good morning iPhone Day! Weather forecast in Austin for today: 40% chance of showers and storms.

10:15am: It’s only 10am but already realized I need to go to Plan B. Bribe friends already in line to use their 2nd iPhone purchase.

11:09am: Change of plans. Heading to the Apple Store now to join in the line-waiting fun. Will it be too late?

12:26pm: I expected rain, but that seems unlikely. It’s hot like a real Austin summer here in the iPhone line.

2:32pm: Hanging out in The Line with Jeremy of Barton Springs Software and @damon. Apple Store is closed. Had some lunch and a Starbucks soy latte.

4:03pm: 2 hours left. We can redeem our free Starbucks coffee coupons now. Excited! (About the iPhone. Not the coffee.)

6:30pm: Got my iPhone.

7:35pm: Activation will have to wait. Ratatouille.

8:18pm: Movies all sold out. Pre-activation dinner at Kerby Lane instead.

9:53pm: Activation took less than a minute. Also, no plan choice. Just $20 added on to what I already pay, I guess.

11:56pm: @danielpunkass Wait, what? You can make calls on it? (But seriously, you’re right. It’s a computer first and a phone second.)

Apparently I waited in line most of the day. I remember it only being a few hours. I also love how trivial these tweets seem. A big reason to have a microblog is because even the most mundane posts today carry extra significant years later.

The incomplete iPad Pro

I ordered my iPad Pro online and picked it up in the store today. My excitement for this device is all about the Pencil, which doesn’t ship for a few more weeks. The store didn’t receive any and employees have no idea when they will get it. They didn’t receive any Apple keyboards either, so I left with the only remaining accessory in stock: the white smart cover.

I don’t think I’ve ever been less excited to walk out of a store with a brand new $800 gadget. The iPad Pro has so much potential. I think it’s going to be a success and I’m building apps for it. But without the Pencil and keyboard, a significant part of the appeal is missing. And worse, developers who need a Pencil to start testing their apps — especially those apps like the one I’m working on that already supports third-party stylus pressure — are put at a month-long disadvantage compared to Adobe and the other early partners.

I enjoyed reading the iPad Pro reviews this morning, especially from Daring Fireball and MacStories. But those reviews describe a product that just doesn’t exist today. The iPad Pro as advertised on Apple’s web site and in beautiful marketing videos isn’t ready, and I wish Apple had delayed the whole launch until they could deliver these important accessories for a complete user experience.

iPad 1 release day

Shawn Blanc looks back to a post 3 years ago about his experience buying and using the first iPad. From waiting in line:

7:32 am: A young guy and his mom get in line behind us. The guy is wearing a ‘WWSJD’ t-shirt. I like to think that I’m less nerdy than he is, but the fact is I am ahead of him in line.”

I wish I had written so many detailed notes. I did, however, find an old draft blog post with my current list of apps from back then. Here’s what I was running on my first iPad in early April, 2010:

  • Twitterrific.

  • NetNewsWire.

  • Instapaper.

  • Freeform.

  • Sketchbook Pro.

  • Pages.

  • OmniGraffle.

And free apps:

  • AIM.

  • iBooks.

  • Kindle.

  • Netflix.

  • New York Times Editors’ Choice.

And a couple games, like Flight Control HD.

Of those paid apps, I’m only still routinely using Instapaper today, and — even though I’m not on Twitter — occasionally Twitterrific. NetNewsWire for iPad in particular held up very well; I used it every day for probably 2 years after it had stopped being updated.

Most of the apps that were released for the iPad’s debut were more mature than apps from the iPhone OS 2.0 release and first App Store. By the time the iPad came along, developers seemed to have gotten the hang of the platform.

iPhone 4

Alright, it’s been 2 weeks. How does the iPhone 4 hold up?

For me, there was less urgency to this launch then for previous iPhone releases. I wanted the 3GS on day one (video recording!) and of course I waited all afternoon for the original iPhone (shiny!). Likewise I couldn’t wait for the iPad. This time I viewed iMovie and FaceTime as the killer apps. Sign me up!

But I wasn’t willing to wait all day. I tried the same approach that had worked great for the iPad: show up late in the day after the madness has settled down. No luck this time. I waited about half an hour, then came back before closing and waited a couple more hours to get a voucher for the next day. Total wait time about 3.5 hours over 2 days and 3 visits.

To get it on day 1, most people waited 6 hours. I’m sure “John Gruber’s story on Flickr”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/gruber/4731689070/in/contacts/ was common too.

This was Apple’s most poorly-managed launch I’ve been to. The 3GS line was pretty fast. For iPad it was extremely quick — in and out in half an hour. I mostly blame the extra step of requiring activation in-store, but there were enough problems that I think this whole thing was mismanaged somewhere.

Some of the inconsistent messages I heard depending on which Apple Store employee I talked to:

  • AT&T activation is not the bottleneck / yes it is.

  • We are selling 30 phones every 10 minutes / no idea how long the wait is.

  • We’ll shut down the line at 7pm and give out vouchers / staying open until 2am.

  • Vouchers will allow you to skip everyone else in line the next day / you’re guaranteed a phone but have to wait in line.

I also “collected a few tweets about the launch”:http://tweetlib.com/manton/iphone4.

Anyway, the phone. It’s the best phone I’ve ever seen. No question.

Now that some time has passed, I think I can comment on the reception issue. It’s real. Outside my house, I don’t notice it. But my street is a notoriously bad dead zone, and while I don’t get any more dropped calls than I used to, I can no longer hold the phone in the palm of my left hand when using mobile Safari. It’s pretty frustrating because I’ve been holding the phone this way for 3 years. It’s awkward to break the habit.

Having said that, I’ll close with the same thing I told strangers who came up asking about the phone. It’s easy to overlook the reception issue because of how great the rest of the phone is, and all existing iPhone users will love the iPhone 4. Eventually I’ll just cave in and buy a bumper.