I have been in love with my Blackberry for the past two years. But after many months of contemplation, I decided to make the switch to an iPhone 4. Letting go of BBM (Blackberry Messenger) was the hardest part, since I had to literally abandon a network of friends. Let me say, more than 50% of my BBM contacts were not impressed by my transition. I got comments like: “sell out,” “boo,” “I’m firing you as a friend,” don’t do it,” “crying” etc.

The point of this entry is to share my journey of getting the iPhone 4 (because it wasn’t easy).  Call it a PR plot or not by Apple, but there isn’t a plethora of these smartphones around for on-the-spot purchase. As a result, Apple has the power to make many individuals (including myself) become desperate for the device that we’ll wait in a very long line up. To be honest, I never thought it’d be “one of those types” to have the sanity and patience to get a highly sought-after gadget. Here’s the breakdown of the process (the key is to have supportive Apple Fan Friends):

  • 5am: My friend Jamie finished his overnight shift in downtown and walked over to the Apple store location in the Pacific Center Mall (standing outside on Granville street in the cold). At that time, he was the 20th person in line waiting for the iPhone 4. (Imagine that, people were waiting earlier than 5am!)
  • 7am: My friend Chelsea and I arrived to release our good friend from the line. (Thanks Jamie)
  • 8:15am: Two Apple reps came outside with an iPad. (Yes, there is a shipment in. Now, how many? Will we get on the list? Anxiety!) They were going down the line to record the inventory. Some people infront of us were getting 4 or 5 phones. By the 9th person all the 16GB version were sold out. Only the 32 GB was available. Damn, now I have to fork over another hundred bucks….but will there be enough for Chelsea and I to get the phone? Suspense was killing us. We’d be heartbroken if we didn’t get on the Apple holy list.
  • 8:35am: Chelsea and I find out that we made the cut for a 32 GB. Woo Hoo, we screamed (yes, out loud, in the middle of downtown Vancouver.) Even the Apple reps remembered us by our first names).
  • 8:40am: Send out a mass BBM message to tell my Blackberry network I’m switching over. First person I call is my host, Mike Agerbo. (He was surprised and impressed that I’d wait in line for the phone).
  • 9:00am: I found out that the wait to get the phone activated could take until 1pm. OMG? Are you serious? I thought I’d be out of the Apple store at 10:30am the latest.
  • 9:30am: I go off to work and my friend waits in line for me. That’s why it’s important to either make friends or have a buddy with you (helps when you need to go to the bathroom or just have a companion to kill time). Note: Granville Street is busy with people walking to work, and did we get MANY looks of petty. We even saw a few friends and co-workers who shook their heads in shame…Hold your head up with grace.
  • 11am: I come back to the line and it happens to be super slow today according to the Apple rep. The people before us must have been taking their sweet time on negotiating a plan.
    Fortunately, another kind friend, Dave, noticed us in line and stopped to chat.
  • 11:20 am: no movement in line. Both Chelsea and I had to go back to work. Luckily, Dave said he’d stay in line for us. We went to work.
  • 12:15 pm: I ran back to the Apple store. And Dave was the next in line to get our phones activated.
  • 12:45 pm: I left the Apple store with my iPhone 4 in hand. Apart of me wanted to jump up and scream like they do in American Idol when the contestant gets to be on the show with a plane ticket in hand. I assure you, I left with grace and dignity.

A couple things to note, try not to let the Apple rep see you get other people to wait in line for you. The rep that was monitoring my line was pretty nice and lenient.  I’ve heard that other reps won’t let you have your friends wait in line for you and they’ll axe you from the Apple holy list. Apple’s line-up policy is strict. Even if you are on the list to get the iPhone 4, you must stay in line to activate. You can’t wait until the afternoon when the line has died down to head back into the store. Apple wants you to wait in line (and suffer). If you decide to pay someone to wait in line and activate your plan, make sure to call your carrier in advance and add their name onto the account. Apple reps will ask for ID.

You can buy up to a maximum of five iPhones 4 if you wait in line…I think the limit should be two. If you decide to wait in line for the iPhone 4, make sure you can get a day off from work or bring a 3G iPad (or laptop with an Internet stick) and work while you wait in line. Dress warmly. Get a pillow (one that can get dirty) to cushion your butt while you sit on the cement. Trust me, your butt will get numb at some point. Get there by 4-4:30am, being the first five in line can get you out of the store by 10:30am. It’s a stressful journey, especially when you are not prepared or aware of the entire process. Thankfully, my Apple iPhone angels were on my side. But it takes a commitment, patience, and teamwork to get this scared device.

I wonder how long this iPhone 4 hype will last? Have you waited in line for any Apple iDevice?

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