How I Got My iPhone 3G

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The iPhone 3G debuted early yesterday morning, and many people lined up in the pre-dawn hours at Apple and AT&T stores to be one of the first to get this smartphone. Brighthand contributor Nick Spohnholtz was one of them, and he shares his experiences buying, unboxing, and activating the device.

What Day is it? It’s iDay v2!

Since the iPhone was being released at 8 AM this year, unlike the 6 PM release last year, I had planned on going early in the morning.

Buying an iPhone

Buying an iPhone 3G
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I checked around to see if any lines were starting, and most stores only had about 1-3 people at 3 AM. There really wasn’t much to do at the moment, so I figured why not get in line.

I got to the AT&T store a little before 6 AM, and I was fifth in line. Shortly after, more people starting coming. 7 AM was when most of the people starting showing up.

Just like last year, there were extremely nice people in line, and that made the wait go by a lot quicker.

The AT&T guys handed out these squish balls and a bottle of water, which was very nice of them.

AT&T had employees coming in and out of the store left and right before 8 AM, and when I was inside they had about 12 people working. They sent out some employees before 8 AM to find people that were new customers to speed up the process, but honestly, that really didn’t help.


I was in the store for about 30 minutes buying two iPhones. The employees for the most part knew what they were doing. I had one that happened to be new, but he was nice.

AT&T now activates this device at the store, which means they are the ones that open the iPhone box. AT&T and Apple employees were given instructions to make sure that the customer felt the iPhone first and got a feel for it. Uh, this isn’t delivering a baby. Remember it’s only a phone…

Feel the iPhone

Since this was the launch of the iPhone, and customers had to have a contract in order to purchase one, a “master computer to activate all the iPhones in existence” was required. This meant that the wait time and confusion was to be extremely high.

As soon as everyone got to the activation stage after signing the contract, that’s when the store realized they were in trouble. So many people were trying to activate iPhones at the same time that it was impossible for all of them to get through.

Fortunately AT&T / Apple stores had a backup plan. I was told I could activate the phone at home, so I got a “thank you” from the rep that rang me up, and a “have a nice day!” from a guy standing at the entrance.

When I got home, I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. Oops, looks like my rep even forgot to open one of the iPhones I bought! Luckily, this didn’t matter, but after all he was instructed to “at least try and activate it”. I plugged in the iPhone, and I got an error. So I kept doing the process over and over until I could get through on the iTunes server, and after a few minutes I did. I did the same with my other new iPhone, and I was all done with that process.

Remember that this is only due to the fact that this is the launch. When you go to activate your iPhone 3G, you will probably buy it when the crowds have died down, and AT&T/Apple gets all their problems sorted out.


The black iPhone comes in a black box, and the white iPhone comes in a white box, which I think looks very nice. I always love the way Apple packs their products; it’s always neat and simple.

iPhone 3G White and Black

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The phone comes in a protective film wrapped around the front and back of the device. When they activate your iPhone at the store, they actually only open the film so they can only get to the connector.

In the box you will find the iPhone, and black or white packaging depending on what color phone you got.

There is a booklet that has all the information in it, and there is also a “SIM Ejector Tool” on the flap of the booklet.

Below the booklet, you will find a cable to connect the iPhone to your computer or dock. The bad thing now is that the new iPhone doesn’t come with a dock.

But other than that, a new wall charger comes with that is a lot smaller, and “cube” like. And last but not least, the special iPhone headphones.

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Spohnholtz’s few review of this smartphone is now available here: Apple iPhone 3G User Review.

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