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The fruitless search for a 3G iPhone

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: August, 2008
I am simply next in line behind 280,000,000 Americans

Believe me, I completely understand. The entire disinterest at best, the yawns and at some point the deserved derision for prattling on as I am about to, pained middle aged man, denied the gadget that he really doesn't need anyway.

Two weeks, one day and counting and the 3g iPhone is still not in hand. Who cares right? Who cares if you already have one that is. I am simply next in line behind 280,000,000 Americans who haven't picked one up yet. Look, I long to be standing in the middle of Echo Park, entering the the type of food I want to eat and flicking my wrist to activate the acceleronometers or whatever they're called - (if they're not called acceleronometers, then perhaps they should consider renaming them to improve the veracity of this here) - and having those virtual fruit machine barrels roll round to point me to ELF in that cheery program from restaurant site, urbanspoon. But it's not happening yet, and here's partly why.

First of all. I can't abide the crush and couldn't even inflict the crush on my new assistant all-round person. So the opening weekend of the great iPhone rush was limited to a tepid trot into an AT&T store I happened to be passing and since there wasn't a line outside the door...

Subsequently, I have visited several Apple and AT&T stores and these days believe me, I know only one thing for sure, no line, no iPhones.

After about a week I began checking the daily inventories on the Apple site (http://www.apple.com/retail/glendale/) and then thanks to our tech leader (i think they're still called) began checking the top muffin site which allegedly offers a 15 minute window on Apple store iPhone supplies (http://www.topmuffin.com/3g-iphone-availability). Why not?

Meanwhile breath bated for over a week, I could wait no longer. Friday rolled around and taking my lead from Apple's own iPhone Shopping Tips web section, Tip #1 Shop Early, Shop Late. The stores are busiest in the middle of the day, and noting that the Glendale Galleria Apple store according to Top Muffin's reckoning, was stocked, I headed out to Fatty's, in Eagle Rock girding myself with an early evening plate of vegan ravioli and a delicious happy hour mojito... before heading on to the Galleria.

From a distance I could see that there wasn't a line outside the Apple Store, perhaps, I hoped - the crushing demand is over?

"We're all out for today. Try back in the morning." I was told upon entering the store and talking to the first available.

At home the Apple web page indicated iPhones would be available in Glendale the following day.

On Saturday morning as I approached the Apple store at Glendale Galleria, I could see only the shortest of lines. A man on crutches was turning away though, but, I take my baby everywhere for just the same reasons as he was on crutches, surely he was probably seeking out refreshments.

A store employee was marshaling the short queue and we were mere paces from the door. "I have just sold the ones left over from last night and now we are all out for the day..."

I have often wondered who would hire the type of staff that were tailor made for Tower Records before they went under...

While that is not the end of this, it is the end of my attempts to get the iPhone from the Apple store. I think it will be remembered as a much unloved launch overall and who knows, perhaps even the beginning of the end of Apple's new beginning that began with the iMac 10 years ago. Really, there has been that much grumbling about the iPhone, it's shortcomings and the mobileme whatever that is.

I'm still excited. Anticipation remains a large quotient of gadget pleasure after all.

Within weeks of ever getting this thing, chances are I'll miss some of the blunt pit pony simplicity of my Blackberry. Or maybe not. But Oh well. Change is good, right?

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publisher, lamontpaul is currently producing a collection of outsideleft's anti-travel stories for the SideCartel, with a downloadable mumbled word version accompanied by understated musical fabulists, the frozen plastic

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