As the Bazaarvoice gadget guy it was a moral imperative that I got an iPhone on Friday – so we could ALL share in its wonder. When I left the office at 3:30 on Friday I thought FOR SURE I’d be too late. I was wrong. When I waited in line and I was #200 or so I thought FOR SURE they’d come out and tell us they only had 100 units in stock. I was wrong. When the line finally started moving I figured they’d only have a few counters going and it would take forever, or they’d only let you get one, or they’d only have the 4gb iPhones, not the 8gb. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Apple did it right, exactly right, from the hype to the experience of getting one to the device itself. And their buzz couldn’t be hotter right now.
Steve Jobs set the blogs ablaze in January by announcing the iPhone and continued causing a word of mouth stir all the way through the interview with the Wall Street Journal. Looking back to my post in January, from day one the iPhone was a hit. The expectations were overwhelming and the dissenters numerous, but Apple adhered to one key rule in marketing – live up to the hype. Apple called their shot and told consumers EXACTLY what to expect, with demos and details metered out carefully, then simply released exactly that. Creating the buzz is easy, but nailing it on launch day is where some products have missed the mark. Not the iPhone.
The experience of getting one was great. The Apple store I went to in the Domain here in Austin had over 1000 in stock the first day, according to rumors in the line. Apple wouldn’t say exactly. The line was visited by Apple employees handing out free Starbucks’ certificates and water. They told everyone that you could buy two at a time and they had more than enough in stock. This easily prevented the mayhem seen with the PS3 launch AND boosted the image of Apple to the crowd. People around me were talking about how great Apple was for two hours. Can’t get better than that. Also, they had about 30 employees in the store, they were processing the sale of the iPhone quickly and efficiently, then you bought your accessories in a separate purchase. All with handheld checkout devices to keep things moving and avoid lines. It worked perfectly.
Activating it worked through iTunes, making the purchase process faster and the activation process easy. This is certainly the new model for activating mobile hardware. I did it all from my house and had to call into their hotline only when my current plan didn’t allow for adding a second line on the same bill. Once that was fixed, I was talking on my iPhone in minutes.
The iPhone itself is exactly what you’ve seen on TV, blogs, Apple.com, and everywhere else for the past six months. The interface is fast and slick. The multi-touch input mechanism works really well. You won’t set speed records for text entry but it works – and for anyone but the fastest of BlackBerry typists it will be fine. The audio quality is great and notably better to the people I’ve spoken to on it so far. Text messages look great (resembles iChat). Videos look fantastic and the touch-screen iPod is fantastic. As others are already saying, this will change the way MP3 players and phones are designed. And everything is exactly as Steve Jobs said it would be back in his keynote in January.
If you want one, go get one, you won’t be disappointed. Last time I checked their website, stock levels were good. And enjoy being a part of the best product launch in a long time.